Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Veggie Tuesday

Where else can you have a perfect dinner in eight minutes!!! A few years ago a couple of twin sisters started making these bags. I have been known to take one to work for my lunch. I t doesn't take up much room in the purse. They make a great gift. Oh did I say they are a time saver. You will never have corn so sweet and juicy again with out all of the bother. I am going to give one away so please leave your comments and we will pick a winner on Thursday's post.
Now back to the food. I cooked this potato and corn in a bag just like the one above. The inside of the potato is well done, yet moist, while the skin remains tender. Cooking time will depend on the size of the potato or corn typically about four minutes each in the microwave. As you can see below the potato is fluffy and the corn is crisp and juicy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Gourmet Monday

In my opinion this is not what I would call a Gourmet meal. But lately it has seemed like every time I have a bunch of food out the realtor calls I am bringing someone over right now. Run Run hurry hurry put ever thing away. Crossing our fingers that today is the day we have an offer.
To make this stir fry I grabbed a frozen steak so I can not quite remember what kind it was I would guess a New York cut but you could use any cut. While the steak was still frozen I sliced it thinly. The marinade made the steak very tender and flavorful. The red pepper flakes add just a little zip to the beef.Marinated Beef Stir- Fry

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups cold water
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch broccoli chopped
3 medium carrots, julienned
1 boneless beef steak cut into strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 cup of white pearl onions

In a medium bowl, combine the cornstarch, water and 2 tablespoons soy sauce, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes until smooth add steak and marinade for several hours.
In a very large skillet or a wok, stir- fry broccoli and carrots until begin to soften. Add the beef and remaining soy sauce; stir -fry until meat is no longer pink. Remove and keep warm.
In the same pan stir- fry the peppers and onion until crisp-tender. Return beef to the pan bring to boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve over rice.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sundays are Chocolate

My pictures do not do this pie justice. The chocolate ganache is very rich and brings out the flavor in the peanut butter. Don't worry I bought Skippy brand and I have had it for a while, before the scare. I t was easy to make just follow the direction and you will not have any problems. It took about an hour.
Chocolate Ganache Peanut Butter Pie

30 Vanilla wafers coarsely broken
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons sugar divided
1 1/3 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup plus 13/4 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
6 ounces white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 9 inch diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray. Blend wafers, melted butter and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture over bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate. Bake crust until lightly browned about 15 minutes.
While that is cooking combine chocolate chips, 2/3 cup cream, corn syrup and 1 teaspoon of vanilla in microwave bowl. Microwave on medium heat until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Whisk until melted and smooth. Spread chocolate mixture over bottom of crust. Freeze 10 minutes.
Microwave white chocolate chips and 3/4 cup of whipping cream in large bowl on medium heat at 15 second intervals just until chips soften, stirring often. Whisk in peanut butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Cool to barely lukewarm. Beat 1 cup of whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until very thick but not yet holding peaks, fold peanut butter mixture in 3 additions. Spoon mouse over dark chocolate layer. Chill at least 1 hour.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Night Specials

Since becoming a blogger I have found that I am experiencing a lot of firsts. Take for instance this recipe comes from an advertisement of a local grocery store HARMON'S your neighborhood grocer. See here in Utah we do not have a Trader Joe's. I don't believe I have ever had Chicken and Dumplings especially not like this recipe. Several times while I was making this recipe I said why am I doing this, but it all worked out in the end. The recipe calls for whole chicken parts. I choose to use boneless skinless breast because that is what I had on hand and less calories. The dumplings were very easy to make and they added texture and flavor.Harmon's Chicken Stew with Butter Biscuit Dumplings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ea onion- diced 1/2
2 ea carrots-diced 1/4
2 ribs celery -diced 1/2
1 lb chicken legs
1 lb chicken thighs
1 quart chicken broth
1 ea bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

1 c unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup +1 tablespoon milk

In a stock pot, heat l tablespoon of the oil and lightly saute vegetables. Remove to a paper towel and add the rest of the olive oil. Brown the chicken pieces in 2 batches and remove the chicken. Add broth and scrape up any of the browned bits from the chicken. Add the chicken, vegetables, and herbs, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken and defat the broth. Drop in the dumplings and simmer 8 minutes. Divide the chicken and dumplings between 6 bowls and ladle the vegetables and broth over the top.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until crumbly, add the milk and stir with a fork until lightly moistened. Turn dough onto a floured board and pat the dough to 1/2 thick. Cut into 1" squares and cook as directed.

Start to Finish Time 1 hr 30 minutes

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dinner and a Movie Friday

Any one who reads my blog knows on Friday I like to share about a movie. I try not to be negative. Sorry I can not help it on this one. Since the Academy Awards we have not had much to choose from. We were so looking forward to seeing this movie. Do not waste your time or hard earned money. I love Julia and Clive is not hard on the eyes either. But Duplicity did not do either actor justice. They are both corporate spies working for different companies. The movie jumps around constantly. Just watch the trailers they are the best part of the movie. I will say Clive and Julia have a lot of chemistry. Rated PG13.

Back to food. My mother in law got this lovely Brownie recipe from her friend JoAnn who sits by her at the Opera. This is a very easy recipe with a few unique items. One being Buttermilk Powder I had never heard of such a thing. The Buttermilk Powder was easy to find at the grocery store. It also tells on the can how to use if you don't have buttermilk for a recipe you can substitute the buttermilk powder. The brownies were to die for, crusty on the outside and chewy in the middle. The instant coffee softens the chocolate flavor. I know they look like PLAYBOY brownies, after I put the cookie cutter on top. I had to chuckle.

JoAnn's Opera Lady Brownies

1 box of Brownie Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
3 eggs
4 tablespoons cocoa
4 tablespoons instant coffee
4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 chopped nuts pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup milk

Follow the Brownie Mix direction on the box replacing the water with milk. Add an extra egg and the other ingredients listed above. Bake according to direction on box.

Thank You JoAnn for this great recipe


I also got an award from Teresa at A Blog About Food I love Teresa's blog and she's always got such incredible looking food. Thanks so much Teresa, it's a really cute award!

Along with the award came this little quote:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."It also says : "Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

So I would like to pass this on to a few food bloggers:

Tami from Tamis Kitchen
Gianina from GianinaCucina
Steph from Live Love Eat
Coleen from Coleens Recipes

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stay at Home Thursday

HOT oh not me.

Just noticed it has been a month since we have eaten out,( 90 days) excluding one lunch with my sweet Mother In law. She felt that since we have been bringing her all of this great food, she needed to take us out. Believe me we have enjoyed it she is my number one fan. She talks up my blog ever where she goes. Whahoo.

When I say hot I mean these Wasabi Salmon Cakes. Earlier in the week I told how I would use the rest of the whole salmon. This was one of the easiest recipes I have ever made. Start to finish fifteen minutes. It also was very filling. We even had a little left over for lunch the next day. So much flavor and texture, I changed the recipe just a little. You can't forget the Wasabi Cream Sauce it makes the cakes. These cakes would of been great with a big whole wheat bun, a piece of red onion and lettuce. I have been working out hard so I skipped the bun. Flavor every where by using the fish from Sunday with that hot mustard glaze added tons of flavor. They were very moist and tender.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow I have received an award I will post about it then.

Wasabi Cream Salmon Cakes

2 cups leftover coarsely flaked salmon
2 tablespoons of garlic crouton crumbs or bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 tablespoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 teaspoons wasabi paste
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the salmon, croutons, egg, cumin, and 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise until combined. Shape mixture into four patties, each about 1 inch thick.
In small bowl, add wasabi paste to the remaining 1/4 cup mayonnaise and mix well. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the salmon cakes and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
Serve the cakes with wasabi cream spooned over the top.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Low Cal Wednesday

I am sure glad I am not the weather man or woman. People would always be upset with you because you can not predict the weather. Take for instance on Sunday it was so beautiful I even put on my shorts. I have this thing I either like wearing turtlenecks and big sweaters or shorts and sandals I hate the in between. So as I was planing for the week I planed to make some different items like this fun fresh bow tie pasta. Who would know that we would have four of five inches of fresh white stuff falling. I still so badly wanted to be outside. You can see I took the picture from my table on the patio covered with melting snow. This salad was great I loved all of the flavors in the recipe. But after I made it not much flavor, so I tweaked it up a little. I added a chicken breast to ours cooked with a little more curry and lemon pepper.
Avocado and Apple Pasta Salad

8 ounces of bow tie pasta
1 green apple sliced and cored
1 ripe medium peeled and pitted sliced avocado
2 cans of pineapple chunks, drained
3/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon lemon pepper

Cook pasta in boiling salt water until tender about eight minutes. Drain. Rinse pasta under cold water cool. While the pasta is cooking in large bowl mix reduced non fat sour cream and curry powder, paprika and lemon pepper to blend. Fold in pineapple and apple. Mix pasta with sour cream and blend. Chill for about 30 minutes. Cut up avocado just as you are ready to serve, this is very important you do not want the avocado to turn dark.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Veggie Tuesday

I still have to force myself to eat my greens. One way is by loading up with flavor, and try not to add a lot of fat on the way. A few years ago my bother called and let it be know that the orchard behind his home had Asparagus for the picking. I have been waiting for his call but he has not called. Asparagus is one vegetable I happen to like but it is usually so expensive. It has such a short season on one day gone the next. I happen to see a bunch at the market last week it was priced to sell. I baked this asparagus while our salmon was cooking. You are saying baked asparagus, if you have never tried it you need to you will love it. Asparagus is a great source of potassium and fiber.

Lemon Baked Asparagus

1 bunch of Asparagus bottoms trimmed
1/4 cup lemon juice
steak seasoning salt
balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 F
Pour lemon juice in shallow dish dip each spear of asparagus in lemon juice, then roll in seasoning salt. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Spread asparagus on cookie sheet, spray with cooking spray. Brush balsamic vinegar on asparagus. Roast about 10 minutes until browned crisp and tender.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gourmet Monday

It is almost fishing time" can't wait". Hubby and I love to fish we could afford to buy a boat but we can not justify the coast with the amount of time you can use it here is Utah. So we have float tubes. I know what you are saying you would love to see a 50 something year old woman in a float tube.(HAHA) I can not tell you how much I enjoy this, if you happen to get a fish on you know right away. They can't give you a ride around the lake if you let them. Sorry I am getting a little carried away. We have been talking about going to Alaska on a fishing trip, along with going to Greece and Germany. We just can't seem to make up our minds where we are going. Since we have had time on our side we haven't gone any where. I just keep getting carried away back to food. Salmon is one of our favorite fish to eat. We bought a whole salmon with the intention of using ever square inch. They are not the cheapest to buy whole, but the recipes I am going to share make it worth it. Watch later in the week for more fun salmon recipes.
Sweet and Honey Hot Mustard Glaze Roasted Salmon

4 lbs salmon fillet
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canadian Steak Seasoning
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot mustard powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh dill

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper and steak seasoning. Place salmon in prepared baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, lemon juice, mustard powder, and garlic powder. Remove 1/2 cup of the mustard sauce and set aside. Pour the remaining sauce over the salmon fillets in the pan. Roast the salmon, uncovered, until fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday's are Chocolate

I have seen this recipe everywhere but never had all of the ingredient's to give it a try. Hubby's favorite is German Chocolate go figure he likes anything German. This was way to rich for me at the first bite. If I make this cake again I would leave out half of the cake. We would leave out the butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar and just make a traditional German Chocolate Cake. It was very moist and tender. The nuts and coconut add crunch and texture. Quick and easy and pretty to look at. This would perk up any cup of coffee or tea or my favorite a large glass of milk.
Upside-down German Chocolate Cake

1 German Chocolate cake mix
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter or margarine
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 box or pound of confectioner's sugar

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Mix together coconut and nuts. Put in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the coconut and nuts.
Mix cake mix according to directions on the box and pour over bottom layer of coconut and nuts.
In a separate bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Slowly add in powdered sugar, mixing well. Pour over cake batter. Gently blend in with a knife.
Bake 40-50 minutes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Night Specials

For years I was an order taker. This time I was the order giver bring this get that can't you read my mind you are suppose to be able to. My poor hubby sometimes I remind myself of Kate on John and Kate plus Eight, she is always ordering John to do something. Last Saturday I posted that is was a stressful day. After I returned from the Phantom we had to quickly get dinner and go to a concert. I sure felt sorry for the people who sat next to us GARLIC. Back to being that order taker for years I work off and on at the Cinegrill Restaurant. They make a wicked Hot Corned Beef Sandwich I talked about it earlier in the week. Here it is. Easy to make, fun to eat on the go.
Cinegrill Hot Corned Beef Sandwich

4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons of parsley
Heavy All purpose Bun
Thinly slice corned beef from deli or left over
Mustard and or Horseradish

Roast garlic to nice and soft. Mix garlic with butter to make paste add parsley and blend. Butter buns and lightly toast about 40 seconds. In the mean time warm up corned beef in sauce pan. Remove buns from oven and place warm corned beef on top of bun, add mustard or horseradish which ever you prefer enjoy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dinner and a Movie Friday

I did not realize that this movie was still playing at the theater, we saw it the first day it opened. I still after all these years think that Clint Eastwood can still act. That raspy voice of his still carries a movie. Gran Torino was very entertaining with good humor and sit on the end of your seat excitement. Bee Vang plays Clint's young neighbor and he does an excellent job. At times the whole audience would cheer. It appears that the men especially loved this show. It was worth seeing.

Puff the Magic Dragon when I was a child that was my favorite song and story. Here is my version of Puff. These little treats were easy to make and they look like you slaved over the oven.. Just remember the PUFF next time you are at the store. These were made with apricot jam it is hard to see the jam mixture. They were gone in minutes. Very light and fluffy treat. You could serve as dessert or even with a meat entree or a salad.

Jam Puffs

1 puff pastry
any kind of jam or preserves

Preheat oven 400
Thaw puff pastry. Roll out to 14 by 18. Paint puff pastry with jam or preserves leave a small edge about an inch around all sides. Fold in half jam side together. Place in freezer for about 10 minutes. Cut with pizza cutter in long strips. Pick up and twist each strip pinching the end to hold in the jam mixture. Push each end down good on cookie sheet to hold shape. Bake for 10 minuter or until lightly browned. Let cool and remove from cookie sheet.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stay at home Thursday

Five-spice powder is a blend of ground spices used extensively in Chinese cooking. It consists of cloves, cinnamon, fennel seed, star anise, and Szechwan peppercorns. The only place I have been able to find in in the Asian Market. My belief is that this is the key to all of the flavor in these Short Ribs. It has been years since I have made short ribs. They were so tender the meat just feel apart no knife needed. I found this recipe several years ago in Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking. I let it cook in the crock pot for about seven hours.

Chinese Braised Short Ribs

1 large onion, sliced
4 pounds beef short ribs
Lemon pepper
Garlic Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cup beef broth
1 packet onion soup mix
2 cans tomatoes with green pepper
2 tablespoons five-spice powder

Add sliced onion to the bottom of a 4- to 5 quart slow cooker. Season short ribs with lemon pepper and garlic salt. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown all sides of short ribs. Place into slow cooker on top of onion.

In medium bowl, stir together remaining ingredients. Pour over the top of short ribs. Cover and cook on low- heat setting for 9 to 10 hours on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Low Cal Wednesday

I am seeing green. (Money) Oh that was yesterday sorry. We often cook with red and yellow peppers but very rarely do we use a green pepper. I liked this recipe because it spices it up a little and the hubby always likes spicy. It just happened to be low cal also. I found this recipe in a Light&Tasty Magazine. Two stuffed pepper halves equals 268 calories. If you are watching your salt you will notice this recipe has no salt.

South-of-the-Border Stuffed Peppers

1 pound lean ground beef
2/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 3/4 cups chopped seeded tomatoes,
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup water
4 medium green peppers
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped
4 grape tomatoes, halved, optional

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the beef, red pepper, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink: drain. Stir in 1/2 cup tomatoes, chili powder, cornstarch, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Gradually stir in water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat: simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Cut green peppers in half lengthwise; remove seeds. In a large kettle, cook peppers in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Spoon about 1/3 cup beef mixture into each pepper half.
Place in 13-in. x 9in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender and filling is heated through.
Top with the remaining chopped tomatoes. Garnish with sour cream, cheese and grape tomatoes if desired.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Veggie Tuesday

Tomatoe, Tamatoe however you prefer to say it. I have had this recipe for years it is so easy you can whip it up in a couple of minutes. We have even been known to serve it cold and not even bother with the stove. It makes a great salad or a main dish vegetable. The nuts add allot of flavor and a little crunch. Very good and low in calories also.
Artichokes and Tomatoes

1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup of artichoke hearts cut into quarters
2 tablespoons of Olive oil
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup snipped parsley

Cook and stir pecans, cheese, salt and pepper in oil in 10 inch skillet over medium heat until nuts are coated and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Cook, stirring constantly, just until vegetables are hot, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gourmet Monday

I don't remember having Corned Beef until I was an adult. My parents claim that they have been making Corned Beef on St Patrick's Day for years. When I was in my early twenties I started working part time at a small Italian Restaurant and they served a Hot Corn Beef Sandwich. Finally after delivering what seem like a million Corn Beef Sandwiches I decided to try one, after that I was hooked. I remember the process to cook the Corned Beef took days and the smell was not always pleasant. Boy how that has changed. If you serve Corned Beef you can not forget the mustard or the horseradish. This particular Corned Beef was so tender you could cut it with a fork. It was not the most inexpensive piece of meat but we figured we were able to get eight meals out of one piece of meat. Hopefully we can find another today the hubby would like it again next week. I started out cooking it in the crock pot but I just felt like it was not getting cooked evenly. So I moved it to a large pot on the gas stove on a very low setting for about four hours. If you can boil water , measure ingredients, and chop vegetables you can make this yourself.

Corned Beef and Vegetables

5 to 7 lbs Corned Beef
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Coriander seeds
2 whole allspice
6 parsnips
2 cups of carrots
2 onions peeled halved through root ends
1 2 pound head of cabbage
6 peeled medium white skinned potatoes

Wrap cheesecloth around bay leaves, coriander seeds, and allspice enclosing completely and tie with kitchen string to secure. Place corned beef in very large wide pot. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add spice bag to pot with beef; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low cover, and simmer until beef is tender about 4 hours. Transfer beef to large baking sheet.
Add all remaining vegetables to liquid in pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently until all vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to baking sheet with beef. Return beef to pot and rewarm 5 minutes. Discard spice bag.
Cut beef against grain into 1/4 inch thick slices. Arrange beef and vegetables on platter. Serve with Horseradish and Mustard. Perfect with the Horseradish Sauce I made a few week ago with the Rare Roast Beef Sandwich.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sundays are Chocolate

Here is a couple of pictures from the famous Sylvia's Heritage Hat Guild Day at the Phantom. Continuation from yesterdays post.

The neighbors are raving... I few days ago I made these chocolate covered strawberries beware they are not just any chocolate dipped strawberries. These are loaded chocolate strawberries. I only took one little bite to take the picture the rest were shared with the neighbors. The strawberries were given to me by my mother in-law, I could not believe how big they were. We did not want them to go to waste or to my waist. The cookie mixture brought out the flavor of the chocolate.

Three C's Strawberries

1 package fresh strawberries
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
25 vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed (3/4 cup)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips
2 oz bittersweet baking chocolate chopped
1/2 cup white vanilla baking chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Rinse strawberries, pat dry with paper towels. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, cookie crumbs, powdered sugar and orange peel with electric mixer on medium speed until mixed. Press about 1 rounded tablespoon cream cheese mixture over bottom half of each strawberry, molding to fit the strawberry. Place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
With a double boiler melt semisweet chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. Holding strawberry by the leaves, dip each strawberry into chocolate mixture, covering cheese mixture. Place on cookies sheet. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is completely set.
In small bowl, microwave vanilla baking chips and oil uncovered on High 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. Continue to microwave at 15- seconds intervals if necessary to melt chips. Drizzle melted vanilla chips over dark chocolate on strawberries. Place each in paper baking cup store in tightly covered container in refrigerator not longer that 24 hours.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Night Specials

STRESS Most of the time we do not have allot of important and pressing things going on in our lives. Then today comes the some what fun and scary at the same time HAT day. Will the dress match the hat. Will I look like a goof at the Phantom. When my Grandmother died several years ago she was in her late nineties. She left a very large collection on hats. So my Mother formed a little hat Guild in honor of Grandmother. All of the daughters, granddaughters and granddaughter in-laws received a hat and each year after the celebration we exchange the hats. So you have a different hat and a different dress each year. Just not today we have an OPEN HOUSE while we are at the Phantom, and a concert to attend tonight and trying to help my daughter find a dress to match her hat because she did not know she would be in town to attend. A two year old at our feet at all times. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH Stay tuned tomorrow I will post some pictures of the fun day. You do not want to miss tomorrows CHOCOLATE.

At one of my favorite restaurants when, I have the rare roast beef sandwich that I shared a couple of weeks ago. I always have as a side dish of the French Onion Soup. This was a first for me and the hubby loved it said it tastes better then the restaurant. I do not agree I am my own worst critic. It was fun and different to make and we enjoyed it.

French Onion Soup

3 large onions, sliced
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 tablespoon all- purpose flour
2 can (101/2 ounce each) condensed beef broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 slices French bread, Toasted
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese (12 ounces)

Cook onions in margarine in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and just begin to brown: sprinkle with flour. Gradually stir in 1 can broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining broth, the water and Worcestershire sauce. Heat to boiling: reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes.

Place 1 slice toast in each of 6 ovenproof soup bowls or casseroles. Pour soup over toast: sprinkle with cheese. Set oven control to boil and/ or 550 F. Broil soup with tops 3 to 4 inches from heat until cheese is melted and light brown, about 5 minutes. Makes six 1 cup serving.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dinner and a Movie Friday

If you want a good laugh you need to go and see Tyler Perry Madea goes to Jail. We usually don't go and see these kind of movies. We did not know who Tyler Perry even was. Tyler plays several different parts you will laugh until you cry. We happened to see a story on Tyler Perry where he told how he was homeless, now he is making big hits in his own studio. If this show is playing in a theater near you check it out it is really funny.

My little buddy is on his way to town. Mom has Spring Break so we made some fun Spring Break Cookies. As I sit on pins and needles why they make the six hour drive home. I always feel better after they arrive safely. I don't know if I would drive 6 hours by myself with a two year old!!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess while Daddy is in Afghanistan you do not have a lot of choice.
Spring Break Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
31/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Colored sugar

Mix 1 cup sugar, the butter, milk, vanilla, almond extract and egg. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Heat oven to 375 F. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Divide one part into 12 equal pieces (keep remaining dough refrigerated). Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon colored sugar on board. Roll each piece of dough on sugared board into pencil-like strip, about 10 inches long. Twist into pretzel shape on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until delicate golden brown. 10 to 12 minutes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stay at home Thursday

As you have noticed I am not a big fan of any thing fried. I found this recipe for Empanadas and I just assumed that they were fried. They were very easy to make, I only had two pie crusts left so we made eight Empanadas. You want to be sure and let the pie crust thaw before you try and attempt this recipe. I added a few items. Next time I will make them from scratch now I have the hang of it.

Black Bean and Beef Empanadas

1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
1/2 lean ground beef
1 can black beans
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup Thick and Chunky Salsa
1 cup guacamole
1 bunch green onions

Heat oven to 425 F. Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray. Unroll crusts. Cut each crust into 4 wedges. In half and in half again.
In nonstick skillet, cook beef over medium high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in black beans. Spoon about 2 tablespoons mixture over half of each crust wedge to within 1/4 inch of edges. Top each with 1 tablespoon cheese. Brush edges of crust with water. Fold untopped dough over filling, forming triangle; press edges to seal. Place on cookie sheet.
Bake 12 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool 10 minutes. Serve with guacamole and salsa.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Low Cal Wednesday

Oh boy I am sure this will be a favorite in our house. The lamb chops were so tender the rosemary and thyme give it great flavor. The balsamic reduction was to die for you could put it on anything chicken, steak and even some fish. From start to finish it took about 50 minutes with two phone calls. We will have to make this again while our daughter is in town, we just won't tell her what we are serving. I feel now like I was cheated because I have never cooked lamb until recently. Live and learn. The calories are 258 depending on the size of the chop give or take a little.
Balsamic Reduced Lamb Chops

3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 lamb chops (3/4 inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion quartered
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter

In a small bowl or cup, mix together the rosemary, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub this mixture onto the lamb chops on both sides. Place them on a plate, cover and set aside 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place lamb chops in the skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes per side for medium rare, or continue to cook to your desired doneness. Remove from skillet, and keep warm on a serving platter.
Add onion to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes, just until browned. Stir in vinegar, scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth. Continue to cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half. If you don't, the sauce will be runny and not good. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter. Pour over the lamb chops and serve.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Veggie Tuesday

I need to say Happy Birthday to our daughter in-law. This is Samantha she is an ARMY wife she takes very good care of our grandson while her husband Michael, fights for our freedom in Iraq. They are station in Bamberg Germany where Samantha is from. I am sure her parents and grandparents are taking very good care of our grandson until we meet. This picture was taken last year on our family cruise. When they came with the dessert order, "she said I skip" and this is what they brought her. Happy Birthday Samantha. Give our little buddie hugs and kisses.

A few week ago I made these veggie soup wafers they are loaded with flavor. They are very easy to make and take no time at all. Before the soup was gone the wafers were devoured. They had a lasting flavor. The recipe made about 18 wafers.

Chipotle Soup Wafers

1 tablespoons finely minced chipotle chiles
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
21/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter cut into 1/2 cubes
11/2 cup packed coarsely grated yell cheese
1 large egg
3/4 c buttermilk
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon whipping cream for glaze

Preheat over to 425 F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium heat add green onion and saute 2 minutes to soften slightly. Remove from heat. Blend flour, cornmeal ,sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in processor. Add1/2 cup chilled butter looks coarse meal. Add cheese. Transfer flour mixture to large bowl. Whisk 1 egg in glass measuring cup. Add enough buttermilk to egg to measure 1 cup, stir in green-onion mixture and chipotle. Make well in center of dry ingredient . Pour buttermilk mixture into well, mix just until evenly moistened.
Turn dough onto floured surface. Knead gently just until dough holds together, about 10 turns. Pat out on generously floured surface to 3/4 inch thickness and cut out additional wafers. Brush wafers with egg glaze. Bake wafers until golden, tester inserted into center comes out clean, and wafers feel firm, about 18 minutes. Cool on rack 5 minutes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gourmet Monday

We have a new Nordstrom in town. We made of first visit by the looks of the store you would think we were in New York it was beautiful. Just outside of Nordstrom's is a Pretzel Maker, and we could not go home and eat because of the Open House going on. The plan was to split a pretzel but when we got to the end of the big line hubby wanted his own, go figure. So I ordered a Garlic needless to say he would not get near me the rest of the day.

When we got home I figured I already have garlic breath lets add to it who cares now we are home. Grandmother Katerine was a little Sicilian women and she loved spicy food. Hubby always talks about how great her food was with lots of spices and hot to beat and of course Garlic. So I modernized it up a little with my own twists. After all of the teasing about my breath he loved it, what could he say his breath now smell just like mine.

Sicilian Spicy Chicken Rigatoni

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/4 soy beans (Edamame)
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 teaspoon Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Garlic Powder
1/4 Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
3 Tablespoon Lemon Pepper
1/4 cup Corn Meal
1 can Italian tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 lb box Rigatoni

Mix together Oregano,Paprika,Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Lemon Pepper and Corn Meal. Put in plastic bag coat each piece of chicken with powder mixture. Heat large skillet with olive oil place chicken and garlic in pan and simmer on each side for 10 minutes or until done cooking entirely. Cook Rigatoni according to box. In skillet where chicken was cooked place tomatoes, tomato sauce,soy beans, capers and sun dried tomatoes bring to boil. Mix Rigatoni with tomato mixture place on plate or bowl and serve chicken on top.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sundays are Chcocolate

When I was a small child one of our neighbors delivered this beautiful pie. I thought it was a pie, but I was surprised it was a brownie with chewy chocolate on the bottom of all this cream. For years I have been making this same treat. It is very lovely to serve for guests or just for the kiddo's. You need to be sure and let it chill very well or it will not set up before you try and cut it.

Spearmint Brownie Torte

3/4 cup sugar
3 egg whites
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup fine chocolate-wafer crumbs
1 pint of whipping cream,
1/4 cup crushed spearmint candy
1 square unsweetened chocolate, shaved

Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until glossy. Beat in vanilla. Fold in chocolate wafer crumbs. Spread in nonstick
or greased 9 inch pie pan, piling high at sides. Bake at 325 F for 35 minutes. Let cool for at least 3 hours. Whip cream sweetened to taste with sugar add spearmint candy to color the cream. Spread cream mixture over chocolate brownie and pile high. Let chill for at least an hour. Before serving shave chocolate square over entire brownie.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Night Specials

We are on our way to the Asian Market this morning. Thanks to Maria of Two Peas and a Pod a few weeks ago she shared that she had attended a cooking class at Viking Cooking School. I looked it up and found that they were teaching a Sushi Class, lucky me. Sushi is one of our favorites but since we are still not eating out we can't partake. We learned allot fresh fish is very important and a very sharp knife. Below is a few pictures of the sushi that the hubby and I made it is very obvious that we need lots and lots of practice. I know allot of people who don't like the seaweed, they have a new product witch is a soy paper wrap, which is similar to a thin tortilla. The soy paper wraps were bright in color yellow or green almost pretty, can't wait to try. My favorite of the night was the Spicy Tuna Roll.

Spicy Tuna Roll

4 ounces sashimi-grade fresh tuna coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Japanese mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Asian Chile garlic sauce, or to taste
1 green onion, green tops only very thinly sliced
2 sheets nori
2 2/3 cups prepared sushi rice
1 teaspoon prepared wasabi, divided, plus additional as an accompaniment
Pickled ginger as an accompaniment
Japanese soy sauce, as an accompaniments

1. Cover a bamboo sushi rolling mat in plastic wrap. Combine the chopped tuna, mayonnaise, chile garlic sauce and green onion slices in a small mixing bowl; set aside until needed.
2. Cut the nori sheets in half crosswise to make eight 4x7 inch sheets. Place a half-sheet of nori on the bamboo mat, shiny-side down, with the long side toward you at the edge of the mat closest to you. Dampen your hands with hand vinegar, then spread a scant 1/3 cup of sushi rice evenly over the entire half sheet of nori, leaving a 1/2 inch border at the top of the nori sheet uncovered to help seal the roll; be careful not to compact the rice. Do not make the layer of rice to thick, or it will not seal properly.
3. Spread a thin line of wasabi paste horizontally across the center of the rice with your finger. Form 1/4 of the tuna filling into a log shape; place on the wasabi line.
4. To roll, use your fingertips to hold the core ingredients in place, and use your thumb to push up the end of the mat closest to you Continue to roll up the nori sheet, pulling the bamboo mat out of the way, until the nori edges overlap by about 1/4 inch. Gently press the mat around the roll to shape it.
5. Use a very sharp knife to cut each roll, as a dull knife will tear the sushi roll apart. Clean and wet the knife between each cut with a damp towel. Cut down through the roll, using the entire length of the knife, with a quick, decisive motion, then pull the knife toward you. Do not use a sawing motion.
6. Cut each roll into 6 slices; attractively arrange on a serving platter, and serve with pickled ginger, soy sauce and additional wasabi as accompaniment.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dinner and a Movie

When a new movie comes to town we are usually first to see it on opening day the 4:00 or so showing. We don't like to fight the crowd. When we went to see this movie we sat on the very back row (more leg room) where we always sit. Now for my pet peeve I would like all the comments I can get on this, was I in the wrong. A young girl 16 or 17 was with her parents and she sat next to me. Needless to say I was very distracted through the whole entire movie. The last twenty minutes I started to count she sent 11 text messages. I kept looking over and a few times I went excuse me, I am watching the movie. After the movie was over it was a good thing it was still dark. I said to her next time you go to a movie it would be nice if you could not text during the movie it interrupts other people. I didn't know her mother would jump all over me saying it is ok to text message during the movie the theater does not care, " but I do and I paid to be here". What is our world coming to can we not go 2 hours without talking to our friends. I hope my girls read this if you ever do this, I will beat you up. It would not be child abuse just assault and battery.

Back to the Movie TAKEN it is so suspenseful the whole entire movie. It stars Liam Nesson and Maggie Grace. Maggie Grace plays the daughter and is kidnapped in a foreign country. Her Dad (Liam Nesson) makes it his life to find her. You are on the end of your seat through the entire movie. It does have a little sexual content and some drug use. It shows a great love between a father and his daughter. Would we go to these measures for our children? It is rated PG, be careful who you sit by.

Our son is married to a lovely German woman and the hubby is a little obsessed with the German Cultural. All he talks about is moving to Germany. My heels are dragging on the ground. I guess you could say I like my comfort zone that I am in right now. He has been pestering me to make German Pancakes. I gave in they were great and easy to make. I haven't eaten this many eggs at one time in years. You can not tell by the picture but the pancake is loaded with lemon glaze. They were yummy I am sure we will be making these again.

German Pancakes

1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in oven in 13x9 inch pan until bubbling. Mix all ingredients together and pour into hot butter. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with jams, syrup, powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice, etc, for breakfast or with meats for dinner.

Lemon Glaze

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix together.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stay at home Thursday

Crepes made with tortillas sounds funny to me. The first time I had them I thought is this suppose to be Enchiladas and someone did not follow the directions. Now I was wrong. I am sure they would be great if they were made with crepes it just might take a while longer. They are very easy and makes 2, 9 by 13 casseroles. Most families could get two meals out of one. They are very moist and tender and very filling. Give them a try and leave me a message letting me know what you think.

My good friend Teresa From A blog about food gave me another award. Since I received the same award from the same blogger I am going to just giving Teresa a BIG SHOUT check out her blog she always post great yummy food items. Thanks Teresa ablogaboutfood2.blogspot.com/

Chicken Cheese Crepes

6 Chicken Breasts- boil until tender, skin bone and cube
4 C Grated Cheddar Cheese- reserve 1 C to sprinkle on top
12 oz broken mushrooms, drained
12 Medium size flour tortillas ( prefer "Homestyle")
2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 C Sour Cream
1/2 C Milk
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice

Combine soup, sour cream, milk and lemon juice to make sauce. Put chicken, cheese, and mushrooms on tortilla. Put about a tablespoon of sauce on top. Roll up Tortilla and place in greased baking pan. Put crepes close together. Pour remaining sauce on top of crepes. Completely cover crepes being sure to cover ends. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Low Cal Wednesday

I don't watch TV very often but the other day I saw Ellie Kreiger of the Food Network make this smoothie it looked so good I thought I would give it a try. I grew up on pies so these flavors reminded my of a real peach pie. The honey adds tons of sweetness but not allot of calories. I am sure kids would love this one, I will try it out on my grandson when he comes to stay in a few weeks. Very frothy and smooth. 2 cup portion is 240 calories. Courtesy of Ellie Kreiger of the Food Network

Peach Pie Smoothie

1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 plain yogurt
1 cup frozen peaches
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ginger

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Veggie Tuesday

The hubby informed me he is planing a trip to Greece so to get ready he tried to get me to eat his Greek Salad. Hum I don't like cheese especially feta cheese. I don't care for olives at least not Kalamata olives I guess I am a picker eater. He claims that the Cavender's is the key to a great Greek salad that most people don't know about thanks to my Mom for teaching him about it. Cavender's has a bunch of spices all in one container I believe is has 13 different ingredients. The salads he makes have allot of ingredients and very little lettuce just the opposite of what I prefer, bring on the lettuce very little other items with tons of fattening dressing. The key to making a great Greek salad is the dressing. Be sure to have a supply of breath mints after you eat a Greek salad.
Mike's Greek Salad

Romaine lettuce
small Greek tomatoes
Kalamata olives
onion thinly sliced
mushrooms any kind you prefer
lots of feta

3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
6 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 teaspoons Cavender's all purpose Greek seasoning

Mix well and toss with you desired vegetables.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gourmet Monday

We are very sorry this is so late to post. I spent the night away and didn't get back as soon as I would of liked to. I am sure you will not be disappointed. This was a request from one of my best friends who was in my Bonco group years ago when she heard I had a blog she asked if I would post this. If you decide to make this lovely turbon please plan on it taking you a couple of hours. Mr Baklava man helped with the lining of the pan since he has used the filo allot more than I. This would be lovely to serve for book club or bridge club ( men really enjoy this also). I do not dare guess what the calories would be. It's for company not your every night dinner.

Chicken and Wild Rice Turbon

31/2 to 4 cups cooked chicken diced
2 cups wild rice, cooked
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup celery, chopped
1cup onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 cup fresh mushrooms chopped
1 cup dairy sour cream
4 eggs
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 package filo leaves
1 pound butter, melted
1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped

Combine chicken , wild rice, Swiss cheese, olives, blanched almonds and parsley in large bowl.
In medium pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and saute celery, onion, garlic and mushrooms. When onion are transparent, pour vegetables in chicken mixture.
Combine sour cream, eggs, tarragon and salt and stir into chicken mixture. Set aside.
Cut filo in half lengthwise, and keep covered with lightly damp dis towel.
Combine bread crumbs with cheese and dry mustard and set aside.
Brush a filo strip with butter and begin to line a buttered 3 quart mold (bundt pan size) pressing filo into mold. Rotate buttered strips around mold to cover and after each layer, sprinkle a light layer of crumb mix. Use two-thirds of filo for pan lining then carefully fill with chicken mixture, Top with remaining buttered strips Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown. Unmold 10 minutes after removing from oven. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.
Makes 8 to 10 large servings.
Note cooked brown rice may be used for part of wild rice if desired.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday's are Chocolate

I have not made this cake for years the unique thing about this cake is the different flavors of the icing. I just used one chocolate cake mix, and cut each layer in half. If I were making this again I would double the icing recipe. I used butter instead of the shortening. Each bite is a different flavor. I am sure it would taste the same with your favorite icing recipe. This icing is smooth and creamy it does not appear to harden up like some I have tried.
Rainbow Frosting

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter room temperature
1/2 shortening room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 to 3 drops green food coloring
1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
2 to 3 drops yellow food coloring
1/4 teaspoon lemon flavoring
2 to 3 drops red food coloring
1/4 teaspoon peppermint flavoring
3 table spoons cocoa
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

In a small sauce pan, combine milk, flour and salt. Cook over medium heat about 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened. Cool. Combine butter or margarine, shortening and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat well. Add to cooled milk mixture, beating constantly. Beat about 7 minutes, until smooth. Divide mixture among 4 bowls. In the first bowl add yellow food coloring and lemon flavoring. In the second bowl, add green food coloring and almond flavoring. In the third bowl, add red food coloring and peppermint flavoring. Add cocoa and vanilla to the fourth bowl.