Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dessert Pizza

This sweet rendition of pizza has a cookie dough crust, topped with fresh fruit slices and swirls of whipped cream. As with the traditional version, choose your favorite toppings, from canned peaches to sliced kiwi.

Ingredients
1 (18 ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup sliced banana
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup seedless grapes, halved

S'mores Fondue

mores Fondue

Casa Moda S'mores Maker 1 Cup Mini Marshmallows
Full Sized Marshmallows (at least 20) for dipping
2/3 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
3/4 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Over low flame, heat mini marshmallows and evaporated milk while stirring until melted (DO NOT BOIL)
Slowly add chocolate chips while stirring
Slowly add graham cracker crumbs while stirring
Keep stirring until mixture becomes smooth

To Dip:
Full Sized Marshmallows

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

INGREDIENTS
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.
Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit and spice mixture.

Parmesan Fondue

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups milk
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cubed


DIRECTIONS
In a large saucepan, cook and stir the milk and cream cheese over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese and garlic salt; cook and stir until heated through. Transfer to a fondue pot or mini slow cooker; keep warm. Serve with bread cubes.

Chipped Beef Fondue

INGREDIENTS
1 1/3 cups milk
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3 (2.5 ounce) packages thinly sliced dried beef, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cubed

DIRECTIONS
In a saucepan, heat milk and cream cheese over medium heat; stir until smooth. Stir in beef, onions and mustard; heat through. Transfer to a fondue pot or slow cooker; keep warm. Serve with bread cubes.

Butterscotch Fondue

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh fruit


DIRECTIONS
In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, cream and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Transfer to a fondue pot and keep warm. Serve with fruit.

Basic Fondue

INGREDIENTS
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground dry mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS
In a medium saucepan over low heat, mix together milk, Worcestershire sauce, ground dry mustard, garlic and flour. Heat until almost boiling. Gradually stir in Cheddar cheese. Continue heating until all the cheese has melted. Keep the mixture warm and melted in a fondue dish.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
20 fresh mushrooms, stems removed
1 pound sliced bacon, cut in half


DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, mix together the green onions and cream cheese . Stuff mushroom caps with the cheese mixture. Wrap each mushroom with a half-slice of bacon, and secure with toothpicks. Place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bacon is cooked through.

Baked Brie

I don't use almonds...

INGREDIENTS
1/2 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 (8 ounce) wheel Brie cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
Slice the wheel of Brie in half, horizontally, so that the halves are two, flatter wheels of Brie. Lay the puff pastry in the pie pan. Place half of the Brie (rind-side down) onto the pastry dough. Sprinkle almonds evenly over the top. Place the other half of the Brie (rind-side up) over the almonds. Bundle the pastry dough around the Brie.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cherry Cheese Pie


One of my favorites!!

INGREDIENTS
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling


DIRECTIONS
Place softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl; add condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Pour mixture into the pie crust. Chill for 5 hours. DO NOT FREEZE!!!
Pour cherry pie filling on top of pie. Serve.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies



INGREDIENTS
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
In the microwave or in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the butter stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, whip eggs and sugar until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and the chocolate mixture until well mixed. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually stir into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining 1 cup chocolate chips. Cover dough and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets so they are 2 inches apart.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert


INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
3 cups strawberries, chilled
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed



DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Cream butter or margarine with the brown sugar. Mix in the pretzels and pat mixture into the bottom of one 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water and stir in the strawberries. Chill until partially thickened.
In a small bowl beat the cream cheese and white sugar together until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread mixture over the top of the cooled crust, making sure to seal the edges. Chill then pour the gelatin mixture over he cream cheese layer. Chill until firm.

Supreme Strawberry Topping




INGREDIENTS
1 pint strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla



DIRECTIONS
Cut about 1/3 of the strawberries in half. In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine strawberries, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a blender, puree about 1/3 of sauce, then mix back into remainder. Store in refrigerator.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries


Every year for Valentine's Day I buy a variety of fruits and pretzels to dip in milk and white chocolate and then sprinkle in different colors and designs. The kids love to help!





INGREDIENTS
16 ounces milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves




DIRECTIONS
Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.

Blueberry Dumplings


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar, plus 1 1/2 cups
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 quart fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups water
Vanilla ice cream or fresh cream, for serving

Stir flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Cut butter into dry ingredients, using a pastry cutter or fork. Add milk to form dough. Set dumpling dough aside.
In a large saucepan, combine berries, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and water and bring to a boil. Drop dumplings into hot boiling berries by the tablespoonful. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook slowly for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not remove the lid before 20 minutes has passed, and do not stir dumplings. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh cream.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing


For the cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish


For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

Cook's Note: Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Tarts


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
12 vanilla wafers
1 (21-ounce) can blueberry filling, or other pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan.
Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Place a vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool completely. Serve with blueberry filling on top, or pie filling of your choice.

Taco Soup

2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup


1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.


Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

S'mores Brownies


Crust:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch fine salt

Brownie:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
4 large cold eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

Topping:
4 cups large marshmallows


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.
For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.