Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mint Brownie Cookies

These cookies were kind of an after St Patrick's day thought...better late than never though.  They are a soft brownie in a cookie form that you place half an Andes mint on top and allow it to melt before swirling around.  And what's better is you make them in the microwave so it's only one bowl to clean up after besides the measuring cups and cookie scoop.  

Mint Brownie Cookies

Melt 3/4 cup of butter for 1 minute in the microwave.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of water and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar and microwave for another 30 seconds.  
Stir in 12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips and mix until the dough has turned brown and the chips are half melted.  Add in 2 large eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/4 tsp baking soda and 2 1/2 cups flour.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before scooping out onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350°.  Place 1/2 of an Andes mint on top and allow to melt for a couple minutes before spreading with a knife.  Allow to cool until mint topping hardens.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Three Cheese Baked Chicken Parmesan

This was a wonderful dinner that I made during the week for a tasty Italian dinner using chicken breasts and some leftover pasta sauce that I had.

Three Cheese Baked Chicken Parmesan

3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Soak chicken breasts in buttermilk for 15 minutes.  Combine all the bread  crumbs and spices in a bowl.  Dip chicken in crumbs and place on a greased baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes at 325°.  

Cook 8 oz of your favorite pasta - I used fettuccine.  Place in a greased baking dish.  Place baked chicken breasts on top.  Cover each breast with 1/4 - 1/3 cup of your favorite pasta sauce on top.  Cover each breast with a combination of Fontina, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Bake in the over for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted at 350°.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cherry Coke Short Ribs

An  easy meal of short ribs that cook all day in the crock pot and are fall apart tender.  They have lots of flavor and you can use as a topping for potatoes, polenta or just use in a sandwich and use the strained Cherry Coke  crock pot juices as a dip or make a gravy as I did.

Cherry Coke Short Ribs 
2# boneless short ribs
1 1/2 cups Cherry Coke
3/4 cup beef broth
2 shallots, cut in half
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp adobe or chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Season and brown the short ribs in 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Place into the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients.  Cook over medium low heat for 8 hours.  Remove the meat and cut or shred (it should fall apart).  Taste to see if it needs any additional salt and pepper.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Strawberry Tart

Warmer temperatures outside and you start thinking about Spring...despite the long term weather forecast.  One of my favorite fruits are strawberries and they are starting to look really good in the grocery store.  You can also use frozen whole berries...either way you'll love the buttery crust, creamy filling and berries on top.

Strawberry Tart

Tart Shell ~
1 ¼ cup flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup cold butter, sliced in small pieces
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla

Put all the dry ingredients in your food processor with the blade and pulse until combined.  Add in butter slices.  Pulse again until just combined so the butter doesn’t get too warm.  In a small dish, combine the milk, egg and vanilla.  Pour into the flour mixture and pulse until a dough forms.  Remove the dough from the processor and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for a half hour.  Remove from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes.  Roll out until the dough is ¼” thick.  Butter  the bottom only of your tart pan.  Place dough in pan.  Only lightly pressing down and on the sides.  Trim off any extra.  Return to refrigerator while your oven heats up to 350°.  Cover the bottom of the dough with aluminum foil and add pie weights.  When the oven is heated, bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.

Creamy filling ~

12 oz mascarpone, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Spread evenly over tart shell.

Strawberries cut in half and arranged in a circle around the cream filling.

Glaze ~

3/4 cup good quality strawberry jam

Heat the jam in a small saucepan and brush over the strawberries.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake

Fresh blueberries in a coffee cake with a hint of lemon to start off your morning in a good way.  This isn't overly sweet but a perfect balance of a lemon cream cheese filling that is bursting with blueberries.

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake

Cake ~

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp lemon extract
juice from 1 fresh lemon
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add in egg, egg yolk, extract and lemon juice.  Alternate adding in dry ingredients and sour cream.  Place in the bottom of a greased 9" springform pan.

Filling ~

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 egg white
1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained

Blend the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and egg white together.  Gently fold in the fresh blueberries and spread over the cake mixture.  

Streusel ~

1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp cold butter, cubed

Mix the streusel ingredients together with a fork until crumbly.  Sprinkle over the filling.
Bake the cake for 50 minutes at 350°.  Cool on a rack before releasing from the springform pan.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Orange Rolls

Start your weekend morning off with the smell of cinnamon and warm bread coming from the oven.  These are iced with a light orange icing that isn’t overly sweet.  Just a note....rolls are not easy to photograph  :-)

Orange Rolls
Dough –
1 pkg yeast
½ cup warm water
¼ cup sugar
Mix together and let sit for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat until the butter has melted –
½ cup milk
1/3 cup butter
¼ cup sugar
Put in your mixer  -
4 ¼ cups flour
1 1 /2 tsp salt
1 egg
Add in the yeast and milk mixtures and turn on mixer using a dough hook.
When done, spread out into a 12 x 18 shape and top with –
3 tbsp butter, softened to spread over dough
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp orange zest
Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and salt and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough.   Roll up the 11” way.  Cut dough into 12 slices and place in a greased 9 x 13 pan and allow to rise until it reaches the top of the pan.  Bake for 35 minutes at 350°.  Allow to cool before icing.
8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp orange zest
¼ cup orange juice

½ cup powdered sugar

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Coke Chili

Superbowl Sunday means chili day.  I never make it the same way so it's always a surprise how it will turn out - just like the game.  I had made this recipe using Dr Pepper before and decided to try using it with Coke which is always on hand.

Coke Chili

1 - 15 oz can Light Red Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 19 oz can Cannellini White Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup regular Coke, more if you want your chili juicier
1 pound extra lean ground beef, cooked

1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, minced 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
chili powder to taste, I used around 2 tbsp
1 tsp oregano

In your dutch oven or a large skillet, brown ground beef with onions, red peppers and garlic. Add all the remaining ingredients to the dutch oven or crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or longer in the crock pot.