Thursday, February 28, 2008

Glazed Lemon Scones

If you get Family Fun Magazine, this might look familiar... super easy and tasty. I flattened it into a square and made 16 instead of a circle of 8. They were still a good size. We have eaten them for breakfast AND dessert... such versatility!

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup heavy or whipping cream, plus a little for brushing
1 egg yolk, beaten slightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lemon Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream

1. Heat the oven to 400°. Grease a large, heavy baking sheet (preferably not a dark one) and set it aside.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest and toss the mixture with your hands.

3. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the cream, the yolk, and the vanilla extract and use a fork to blend the liquids within the well. Then use a wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients, just until the dough holds together.

5. Scrape the dough onto a flour-dusted surface and then, using floured hands, knead it gently three or four times to form a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk about 3/4-inch thick, then cut it as you would a pie into 8 wedges. Transfer the pieces to the baking sheet, leaving at least 1/4 inch between them. Brush the tops lightly with cream.

6. Bake the scones in the center of the oven until golden brown, about 16 to 18 minutes. Allow them to cool on the sheet for a few minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack.

7. While the scones continue to cool, make the glaze. Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk them until the mixture is smooth. If necessary, you can thin the glaze with water, stirring in no more than 1/2 teaspoon at a time. When the scones have cooled for another 10 minutes, drizzle each one generously with glaze. Makes 8 scones.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fruit Dip

1 -8oz. pkg. Cream cheese
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
-Mix until smooth.

1/2 bag Heath toffee chips

Refrigerate & dip to your heart's content.

Veggie Pizza

2 cans Crescent rolls
1/2 C. mayo
1 -8oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 pkg. ranch dip mix

Lay crescent rolls out flat on a cookie sheet. Follow baking instructions on pkg. Allow to cool. Combine mayo, cream cheese and ranch dip mix. Spread into a thin layer over crescent rolls.

Top with your favorite veggies and shredded cheese. (I usually use shredded carrots, broccoli,tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, and olives)

Eat within 1-2 days.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Easy Spanish Rice

Easy Spanish Rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion finely chopped

2 tbs garlic

1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup chunky salsa

1 can stewed tomatoes

In a large skillet pour in olive oil and heat up

Pour in rice and stir until starts to brown

Add Garlic and onions-mix in

pour in chicken broth, salsa and stewed tomatoes

Bring to a boil

Cover, Turn down heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes until most of liquid is soaked up.

Easiest yummiest Salsa chicken

EASY Salsa Chicken

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts

Packet of taco seasoning mix (you choose the spiciness level-spelling?:) )

1 jar of your favorite salsa (you choose the spiciness level)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or pepper jack cheese for spice.

Sour Cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Pour half of the taco seasoning mix into a ziploc baggie large enough to hold a chicken breast.

(add more seasoning to baggie as needed)

Place chicken breast one at a time in baggie and "shake and bake" them until covered in seasoning.

Place chicken breasts on lightly greased 9x13 pan .

Pour salsa over top of each chicken breast.

Bake in oven until juices run clear when cut into the chicken.

Take pan out of oven and sprinkle cheese on top of each breast.

Place back into oven for about 5 minutes (until cheese is melted)

You can top each chicken with a small "dollop" of sour cream or place on dish and dip chicken into it as you like - or not use it at all.

**after trying this I realized it would probably be good to cook it this way and then cut up the chicken breasts for tacos, enchiladas, nachos, anything spanish :) ***

Southwest Chicken Corn Chowder

1 T olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
4 C chicken broth
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t poultry seasoning
1/2 t chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 C fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 can chopped green chilies, drained
1 large, raw chicken breast, cut into 1 " pieces
1 C heavy cream
2 C shredded cheese (cheddar, jack or a combo)
1 T chopped fresh cilantro for garnish.

Saute the onion in the oil until they begin to turn translucent. Add broth, potatoes, oregano, poultry seasoning, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then simmer about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are barely tender. Add corn and simmer until corn is heated through.

Remove 1/2 of the chowder and puree in a blender or food processor. Return puree to the chowder and add the green chiles and chicken. Simmer about 5 minutes to cook chicken. Add cream and cheddar cheese. Stir until incorporated and cheese is melted.

Garnish with cilantro and additional shredded cheese if desired.

Monday, February 18, 2008

CrockPot Pork Chops


Pork chops (however many you need)
butter or oil
cream of mushroom soup
fresh mushrooms (optional)

In saucepan, brown chops on both sides in butter/oil with onion. Season with salt and pepper (or any other seasoning that you want to use). Spray bottom of crock pot with PAM. Put chops, onion from the saute, 1 can cream of mushroom soup (if you have more then 4 chops, i would use 2 cans), 1/2 cup milk, (again, maybe 1 cup milk if you have more then 4 chops), and fresh mushrooms (optional) in crock pot. Cook ALL DAY (at least 8 hours) on low. The longer, the better. The soup and milk make for a really great gravy. Serve with rice and veggies.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas

(Yeh, I pilfered this from another blog... but aren't these awesome?!)

Homemade Samoa, up close

Samoas, also known as Caramel de-Lites, have always been my favorite girl scout cookie (although I do enjoy Do-Si-Dos, Tagalongs and Thin Mints). I’m not sure how they rank in the overall scheme of GS cookie popularity, but I will go so far as to say that I have never met someone who didn’t care for them at all - even people who say that they usually don’t like coconut. I think that the cookie is just a good and rather unique combination of flavors.

The Girl Scout bakeries describe Samoas as vanilla cookies dipped in caramel, topped with coconut and drizzled with chocolate. All good flavors, though I have to admit that I never tasted much vanilla in the cookies themselves, and so I used this description as a jumping off point for my version. I remember the cookies as being crisp and tender in the original, and selected a plain shortbread-like base for these. The cookie dough is very rich - by which I mean that it has a lot of butter - and is very easy to work with. The butter keeps it tender, so it won’t toughen up even after repeated rollings of the dough.

For the topping, I debated between using a from-scratch recipe like Chockylit’s or a semi-homemade recipe like Debbie’s. The from-scratch recipe sounded appealing, but I opted for the semi-homemade version because I had a ton of Werther’s Chewy Caramels around already. These particular caramels are nice because they’re made with real butter, sugar and cream (rather than using partially hydrogenated oils, as a number of other caramels do). Of course, you can use any similar chewy caramel that’s handy, I just recommend picking out one with the best ingredient list you can find. I did take Chockylit’s suggestion of toasting the coconut for bit of extra texture. I used dark chocolate for the dip and drizzle, and set each of the cookies on a piece of parchment paper after dunking them in the chocolate to let it set up in an even layer.

There are two ways to get the shape for these cookies. The first is to roll the dough out between pieces of wax paper and use a cookie cutter to make rounds, cutting the smaller center hole later. This technique works great and doesn’t take too long, especially as the dough can be rerolled a couple of times. The second technique calls for a special pan: a mini donut pan. If you have a pan like this, simply press some cookie dough into the tube and bake. The dough doesn’t rise much, giving you a nice flat side and a perfectly rounded one. Take your pick and go with what is convenient for you.

And since you’re all probably wondering, these cookies were absolutely fabulous. The cookies were tender and buttery, the topping was sweet with a delicious coconut flavor, and the dip of chocolate on the bottom of each cookie balanced all the flavors perfectly. Better than I even remember the Girl Scout cookies being. I could - but I won’t - probably eat an entire batch of these on my own.

Homemade Samoas

Homemade Samoas (a.k.a. Caramel de-Lites)
1 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky (it’s possible you might not need to add milk at all). The dough should come together into a soft, not-too-sticky ball. Add in a bit of extra flour if your dough is very sticky.
Roll the dough (working in two or three batches) out between pieces of wax paper to about 1/4-inch thickness (or slightly less) and use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole. Repeat with remaining dough. Alternatively, use scant tablespoons of dough and press into an even layer in a mini donut pan to form the rounds.
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set. If using a mini donut pan, bake for only about 10 minutes, until edges are light gold.
Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 tsp per cookie. Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it gets too firm to work with.

While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes about 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Best Jello Salad You Will Ever Make

6 oz cherry jello
1 lg can crushed pineapple
1 can red cherry pie filling
3 oz vanilla instant pudding
2 C Cool Whip

Combine jello w/ 2 C boiling water. (Do not add 2 C cold water), instead add crushed pineapple with juice and cherry pie filling. Mix well and pour into a 9 X 13 pan, and chill until firm.
Combine pudding with 1 C milk and wait until slightly thickened.
Add 2 C Cool Whip. Stir until well blended. Spread over set jello. Chill.

Serves 8 - 10

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Granny's Fried Chicken

Granny’s Fried Chicken
I like the idea of this recipe blog. It’s kind of fun to see what you kids might be eating. Anyway, I thought I’d put in one of my favorite recipes from my childhood. As most of you know, I grew up on a ranch. Not the cool kind, like horse ranch, or cattle ranch… a chicken ranch. And let me tell ya, there is nothing romantic about a chicken ranch. But they do have chickens! We would get a few hundred chicks every couple of months. They were two days old and were supposed to be all hens, since my dad was an egg producer. Well along about 4 or 5 days old it was always apparent that they missed a few roosters. These were destined for the fry pan. Now I don’t remember how old they had to get before they became dinner, but here is the "recipe".
*Find an old galvanized pipe about 4 feet long.
*Grab your "dinner chicken" out of the cage and hold by both legs.
*Hike up your dress to just above your knees and spread your legs with one foot on one end of the pipe.
*Bend over and insert chicken’s head under the pipe so the pipe lays just across the neck.
*Place other foot on other end of the pipe, bending at the knees.
*Hold tight to the chicken legs, straighten knees, straighten your back, look up, and pull on chicken legs.
*When head pops off swear softly under your breath and toss chicken away about 5 feet.
*When chicken stops running around (yes, they do this) go gather him up.
*Cut around the "vent" and pull out the innards with one clean jerk (I think this is an Olympic event in some 3rd world countries).
*Toss the innards on a sheet of newspaper, pick out the gizzard, liver and heart and discard the rest.
*Cut off the legs at the knees and discard. (Except in Africa where they are saved for the cooking pot… yum, right Tyler?).
*Dip the chicken in a pot of boiling water to loosen the feathers and make it smell really good (NOT!)
*Pluck off all the feathers, even the little bitty ones. (Granny didn’t always follow this step very well).
*Cut up chicken in various pieces.
*Roll the chicken pieces in some whipped up eggs.
*Roll the chicken in some flour that you just kinda dump on the counter top.
*Fry the chicken for a while in some Crisco in an electric skillet at a pretty hot temperature.
*Salt and pepper to taste.
Now some suggestions: If you’re frying up white leghorns (pronounced "leg-erns") you will need about 1 chicken per person. There ain’t much meat on them, they are bred for laying eggs, not for eating. Second, and perhaps most important, don’t forget to clean up the flour on the counter right away. If you don’t, some young boy is likely to come along and slap it with his hand. This is very entertaining as Granny lets out a delightful yelp and chases the boy around the house. This could happen several times if you don’t clean it up right away. So be sure to do that. I’m not sure you will be able to find the boy to help clean it all up. He usually doesn’t come back until it’s time to eat the chicken.
That’s the recipe I grew up with. If I recall right, it’s mighty tasty. And Granny loved cooking it. Even the young boy part.
Pop J.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Clubhouse Chicken Squares

2 packages (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp mayo
1 small clove garlic pressed
1 tsp All Purpose Dill Mix (optional)
1 can (10 oz.) chunk white chicken, drained and flaked*
1/2 small cucumber
2 plum tomatoes
1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 375° F.
Unroll one package of crescent rolls across one end of the bar pan with longest sides of dough across the width of the pan. Repeat with other package. Use the baker's roller to seal the perforations and press up the sides to form a crust.
Bake 12-15 minutes, till golden, then remove to stackable cooling rack and cool completely.
Mix mayonnaise, cream cheese, dill and pepper until smooth. Spread over crust. Sprinkle remaining ingredients over cream cheese. Cut and serve.

Hot Pizza Dip

1 8 oz. package cream cheese softened
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 C. mozzarella cheese shredded
3/4 C. parmesan cheese
1 8 oz. can pizza sauce
1/4 cup. green pepper chopped, sliced green onions or pitted olives.

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Combine cream cheese and Italian seasonings , spread onto a 8" mini-baker.
In a small bowl, combine mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle 1/2 on top of the cream cheese. Spread pizza sauce over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. Top with bell pepper. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Mini Ham Puffs

Last night we hosted a baby shower and had some yummy appetizers that were super easy to make courtesy of Pampered Chef. I have been requested to post the recipes.

So here is #1: I tried to find a picture but didn't have any luck.

1 package (2.5 oz) processed ham, chopped
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 package (8oz) refrigerated crescent rollsDirections

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Finely chop ham and onion and place in a bowl.
Add cheese, egg, mustard, and pepper; mix well.
Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with any type of oil spray.
Unroll crescent rolls and press dough into one large rectangle.
Cut into 24 pieces.
Press dough pieces into muffin cups using a mini tart shaper dipped in flour.
Fill each muffin cup with ham filling.
Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from pan and serve promptly.

per serving: (2 appetizers): Cal. 110, Fat 6 g, Sat. Fat 2 g, Chol. 25 mg, Carb. 8 g, Pro. 4 g, Sod. 260 mg, Fib. 0 g