Sunday, April 20, 2008

Caribbean Pepperpot

1 pound fresh okra (I use chopped frozen)
1 medium-size sweet red pepper
1 medium-size sweet yellow pepper
1 medium-size green pepper
1 medium onion
vegetable cooking spray
2 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups clam juice (I just buy clams in juice and add it all)
2 cups canned chicken broth
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried whole thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds peeled medium size shrimp
1 1/4 pounds sea scallops
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
3 cups hot cooked barley

Trim okra and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut sweet peppers, green pepper, and onion into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.

Coat a dutch oven with cooking spray; place over medium heat until hot. Add okra; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add pepper pieces, onion pieces, jalapeño pepper, and garlic; saute 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in clam juice and next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

Add shrimp and scallops to the mixture, stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook 5 minutes until shrimp turns pink and scallops are opaque. Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in cilantro and orange rind.

Place 1/2 cup cooked barley in each individual serving bowl. Spoon 1 1/2 cups pepperpot over barley in each bowl.

**** I just add a box of barley and an appropriate amount of liquid to the entire cooking pot and cook them together. It requires a bigger pot, but the flavors combine well.

Easy Pasta Salad

1 (9 ounce) package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 (14 ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 (6 ounce) can pitted ripe olives, drained
8 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni
1 (8 ounce) bottle Parmesan Italian dressing

Cook tortellini according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and cool.

Combine the remaining ingredients and mix together. Chill several hours before serving.

*** I also often cube some cheese and add it to the mix as well.

Florentine Artichoke Dip

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 (6 ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fine, dry breadcrumbs

Drain spinach; press between layers of paper towels. Drain and chop artichoke hearts

Combine spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic and next four ingredients, stirring well. Spoon into a lightly greased 11 x 7 x 1 1/2 baking dish; sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake at 375F for 25 minutes; serve with assorted crackers or bread sticks.

**** I add tons of artichoke heart to this, normally.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie

1 1/2 C. chocolate wafer crumbs (ie, crushed oreos)
1/3 cup melted butter

Press crust into pie pan on top of 12" piece of foil. Put in freezer for one hour. Lift form foil and replace in pie pan (****we do this in the pan without the foil and it's never been a problem - no idea why the extra and strange step)

Pie Filling:
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Cool. Beat cream cheese, add vanilla & 1/4 cup sugar. Beat in yolks, one at a time. Beat in chocolate. Beat whites with salt until they hold a soft shape. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat whites until firm. Whip cream until it holds a firm shape. Gradually fold cream into chocolate mixture, then fold in whites. Pour into crust. Refrigerate 5 or 6 hours or overnight. Top with whip cream.

**** This is my grandmother's recipe. It's incredible. I've never made it myself, but my Dad and sister do all the time. It's bowl intensive, but worth it!

Chocolate Fondue

12 ounces milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate or sweet cooking chocolate
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup sour cream
2 or 3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, kirsch, brandy, white creme de menthe, 2 teaspoons dry instant coffee or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dipping items (strawberries, marshmallows, cookies, pound cake, etc...)

Heat chocolate and half-and-half in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in liqueur or other flavoring. Pour into a fondue pot or chafing dish with water bath; keep warm over very low heat (NOTE: a crock pot set on low does a great job of keeping the fondue warm.) Stir in a small amount of cream if fondue becomes too thick while guests are dipping.

Breakfast Casserole

6 slices bread, buttered
1 pound sausage, partially cooked
8 eggs
1 small carton sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies

Butter a 9x 13 pan. Place bread, buttered side down, in pan and crumble sausage over bread. Mix eggs, sour cream and salt, and pour over sausage. Grate cheese and combine with chilies. Sprinkle over all.

Refrigerate 6 to 8 hours. Bake at 350F for one hour.

Tuna Casserole

1 (5 oz) package dried egg noodles
1 (10 3/4 oz) can creamed mushroom soup
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 (6 oz) can solid white tuna in spring water, drained and flaked
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar
1 (8.5 oz) can English peas, drained
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup crackers

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Stir in soup and next 6 ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.

Cover and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with crackers; bake uncovered 5 more minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Chicken Rotel

5 lb hen
2 large green peppers
1 1/2 sticks oleo (butter)
2 lbs Velveeta cheese
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 small can regular tomatoes
1 or 2 cans chopped mushrooms
1 can small English peas
2 large onions
2 tab. Worcestershire sauce
2 7 oz pks vermicelli spaghetti

Cook chicken and season in water enough to have 1 1/2 quarts broth. Chop and saute onions and peppers in oleo. Add mashed tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer a few minutes. Add cheese until melted. Add chopped mushrooms and peas. Cook spaghetti in broth and add the broth and spaghetti to cheese sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste (very little, if any, salt will be needed). Add chicken (shredded or chopped fairly fine).

This will serve 20 people.

it will make several casseroles for freezer.

Heat in moderate oven until bubbly.

***** I adjust the broth addition and just make it a consistency that seems right to me. Sometimes I just add chicken broth (I don't bother retaining the water from the spaghetti) instead.

**** I've also used different pasts for the most part. Spirals or things like that work really well with this recipe.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar and 1/2 cup milk and boil rapidly for exactly one minute. Add peanut butter, butter and vanilla in a bowl and beat until thick. Pour into a buttered pan and allow to cool.

Easy Chocolate Fudge

7 oz sweetened condensed milk
7 oz marshmallow cream
24 oz chocolate chip (preferably milk chocolate)
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
dash salt

In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt. Mix in the marshmallow cream. Remove from heat; stir in walnuts and vanilla. Spread evenly into wax paper lined 8 or 9 inch pan. Chill two hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off paper and cut into squares. Store loosely covered at room temp.

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs. potatoes (9 large)
2 (3 oz) pkgs. cream cheese
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tblsp. butter or margarine

Cook peeled potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain.

Mash until smooth (no lumps). Add remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Cool.

Cover and place in refrigerator. May be used any time within two weeks.

To use, place desired amount in greased casserole, dot with butter and bake in moderate oven (350F) until heated through, about 30 minutes.

**** I've never made this recipe but it's my grandmothers. She makes a huge batch and freezes it to pull out when company comes. It's yummy.

Haystack Salad

Layer ingredients in an oblong casserole dish

1 - One large can refried beans mixed with one pkg taco seasoning mix
2 - one cup sour cream (or cottage cheese) mixed with 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 avacados, diced
3 - one small can diced black olives
4 - one small can diced green chilies
5 - 1/2 cup chopped green onion
6 - 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
7 - 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
8 - 3 chopped tomatoes
9 - sprinkle with alfalfa sprouts

White Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 pkg (6 oz) white chocolate baking squares, chopped, divided
1 Keebler ready crust graham cracker pie crust (9 in)
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup of the white chocolate.

Pour into crust. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining white chocolate.

Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

*** I use white chocolate chips instead.
*** I've also thrown in regular chocolate chips too for an interesting visual
*** I've also used the mini pie crusts to make individual cheesecakes.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cranberry Banana Oat Bread

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick oats
1 tb baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups ripe mashed banana pulp (about 3 bananas)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup non-hydrogenated, non-dairy margarine, melted, cooled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

(replace the margarine with canola oil, if desired)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan with a small amount of margarine

Combine the flour, oats, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix together with a whisk and set aside. Whisk the bananas, eggs and margarine together in a bowl. Add the sugar, cranberries and lemon juice; mix until blended. Gently stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over mix the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until lightly browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan, about 1 hour.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cream Cheese Frosting

In a medium mixing bowl beat half of an 8-ounce package softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup softened butter, and i teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar to make frosting of spreading consistency.

Pumpkin Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 eggs, beaten
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 cup cooking oil
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting (I use a can instead)

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cloves. Stir in the eggs, pumpkin and oil until combined. Spread batter in an ungreased 15x10x1 baking pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand in pan on a wire rack for 2 hours. Spread with Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut into bars.

Toffee-Coffee Brownies

1 - 19.8 or 21 ounce package brownie mix
1/2 cup toffee pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
3/4 cup canned vanilla frosting
1 tablespoon Irish cream liqueur or coffee liqueur
1/4 cup toffee pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x9x2 baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Grease foil; set aside. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Stir in the 1/2 cup toffee pieces and the espresso powder. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake for 35 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. use the foil to lift brownies from pan. In a small bowl stir together vanilla frosting and liqueur. Spread frosting mixture over cooled brownies. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup toffee pieces. Cut into squares.

Easy Baked Ziti

- 16 oz. whole wheat or regular ziti, or other short noodle
- 26 oz red pasta sauce, any flavor
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta or low fat cottage cheese
- 1-2 cups fresh or shredded mozzarella cheese (diced if using fresh mozzarella), to taste
- 1-2 cups raw vegetables such as frozen peas, diced bell pepper, shredded zucchini, or diced cooked meat (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a large deep casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook the noodles according to the package directions until they are al dente (slightly firm to teh bite) and drain them. Return the noodles to the pot and toss them with the sauce, ricotta or cottage cheese, mozzarella, and any vegetables or cooked meat (optional).

Spread the mixture evenly in the casserole dish and top it with Parmesan cheese. bake it, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or slightly longer for a firmer top.