Sunday, February 16, 2014

Strawberry Napoleon

We had a lovely Valentine Dinner, Beef Wellington (step by step post coming next week), roasted asparagus and for dessert a beautiful Strawberry Napoleon.  This was easy to make but made a lovely presentation

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed about 40 minutes
16 oz. strawberries sliced and sprinkled with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
     set aside 4 whole strawberries for garnish
1 package instant vanilla pudding prepared with 1 cup milk
1 16 oz container whipped topping
1/2 cup confectionery sugar and 2 

Thaw according to package directions
Cut int 3 strips along fold lines
cut each strip into 3 sections
bake according to package directions and allow to cool
Separate each piece into a top and bottom-set aside

slice strawberries
sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and set aside

Prepare pudding as directed using only 1 cup of milk
add 16 oz container of whipped topping and blend thoroughly

Prepare glaze shortly before assembly
MIx confectionery sugar with milk to create  thin glaze

Place one piece of puff pastry on a serving plate
top with pudding mixture
top with a second section of puff pastry
add more pudding mixture
top with strawberries
add another layer of puff pastry
drizzle with glaze
add a whole strawberry and a dollop of pudding to the plate
dust with confectionery sugar or red sugar sprinkles

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cookie Excahnge

Every year my friend Debbie Hosts a cookie exchange.  Every year I VOW to just make some tasty cookies and forgo the competition part of the evening...but it never fails, and the competitive gene kicks in.  This year it paid off and my entry won FIRST prize.  I called it "Wanna Play some Reindeer Games?"

I simply made cupcakes, iced them with brown butter cream icing and topped them with a gingerbread candy melt nose, edible candy eyes and pretzel antlers.  
I secured the red-hot with a dot of red icing for a Rudolph nose.
Looking back I wish I had only made a few of them with red noses...

I displayed them on a large cloth checkerboard, scattered around some playing cards, dice and dominoes.  
It was easy and fun to create and, like I said...I WON!

Not to be outdone, my 15 year old DD was also invited to a cookie exchange.
She created these mini cups of cocoa using a graham cracker base, marshmallows topped with icing dipped in chocolate sprinkles.  The handle is the top part of a mini-candy cane.  She didn't win but I think she should have!  So cure and actually tasty to boot!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cranberry Sauce

This is a delicious Cranberry sauce recipe.  Just the right balance of sweet and tart to balance the rest of your Thanksgiving day meal.  I failed to take a photo of my sauce but this looks pretty close.   

Ans so easy to make!
This recipe came from

1 quart cranberries
1 cup water
1 3/4 cups sugar
citrus for flavoring (optional)
The general rule is: Use 1/4 as much water as cranberries. Add 1/3 as much sugar as cranberries.Wash and pick over cranberries, discarding any that are soft. Bring water to a boil; add berries. Cover and cook over medium low heat until berries have burst outer skin.
Add sugar and boil a few minutes longer. If desired, cranberries may be strained before sugar is added. A few tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice may be added along with a little grated citrus peel, if desired. A tablespoon of frozen orange concentrate is also a nice addition.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fiesta Soup

If you need a quick and tasty recipe for these cool nights this soup will fill both requirements.  I made this soup in my crock-pot but you can do it on the stove-top if you prefer.

Cook 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( did mine in the crock-pot)
Once the meat is cooked add

1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn with red and green peppers
1 can chicken broth
1 can Rotel tomatoes and  peppers (I used the HOT)
1 can diced green chilies
1 Can Campbell NACHO cheese soup
2 tablespoons of dehydrated onions (or you could saute fresh onions in a tablespoon of olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Cumin
Mix well

Add 3 cups water
simmer until done (I cooked mine for 4 hours in the crock pot)
add salt and pepper if desired ( I did not)

If you want a heartier soup you can ladle it over cooked brown rice

Top with Sour cream and shredded cheese if desired.  My younger daughter also added hot-sauce to hers.  Serve with bread-sticks and a salad


Friday, October 25, 2013

Salmon with Tomato Bearnaise Sauce

This recipe is restaurant worthy!  
Doesn't it look beautify on the plate?
And so easy to make-in just under 40 minutes you can have this on the table!
This recipe is right off the KNORR Bearnaise sauce package

Salmon with Tomato Bearnaise
4 salmon fillets-about 5 oz each
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
about 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes or 1 medium chopped tomato 
1 cup milk
1 package Knorr Bearnaise Sauce mix
1 tsp. capers

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Generously rush salmon with olive oil and arrange on the broiler pan
Season with salt and pepper
Bake for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes apart easily (I like to broil it to get a nice brown char on the fish)

Make the Bearnaise sauce according to package directions
Add tomatoes and bring to a boil
Stir in capers and serve over fish with wild rice

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lima Beans

My dad gave me a MESS of Lima beans (about 3/4 of a 5 gallon bucket full).  I love to eat Lima beans but hate to shell them so I employed the entire family.  DD2 seems to actually enjoy this chore and never finds an excuse not to help (unusual for a teenager!)  For this I am extremely grateful!  

Even the Lima beans whose shells look bad can yield good beans so don't discriminate.  When we shell beans we lay down newspapers and several plastic garbage bags to catch the shells.  A large bowl goes in the center and the shelled beans are placed there.  
Rinse the beans well several times to remove any grit, dirt or small insects (yum!)

Once all the beans are shelled I par boil them for 3 minutes.
Bring a large container of water to a rolling boil.  Add the beans, allow the water to return to a boil for 3 minutes.  Drain, rinse with cold water and place into clean freezer containers.  I allow the beans to cool to reduce condensation inside the containers which create ice crystals.  I pack in quart containers and leave about an inch of head room.

one container of frozen beans
place in a large pot and cover with water
Add minced onions (dehydrated are fine), 
Sprinkle liberally with garlic powder, Lawrys season salt and add a heaping tablespoon of bacon grease.
Allow to simmer for about 45 minutes, adding water as necessary.  I like my beans DONE!
These can be cooked several days in advance and reheated for dinner.


Friday, September 27, 2013

a New Pasta Recipe-Chicken and Cherry Tomato Pasta Italiano

My dad gave me a whole "mess" of cherry tomatoes (a mess is a LOT for those of you that don't speak country the way my dad does)and they were going to spoil if I didn't use them--so I made this delicious pasta dish last night for supper.  I wish I had taken a photo of it...but did not so you will just have to wait until next time.

This recipe needs a suggest one and I will consider it but for now I will call it...

Chicken and Cherry Tomato Pasta Italiano

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per person you are serving, cut into bite-size pieces
dried oregano, dried basil, salt, pepper
Cayenne pepper flakes if you desire
spaghetti or pasta of your choice, 4 oz per person you are serving
2 cups of cherry tomatoes (the smaller the better in my opinion), cut large ones in half
6 cloves of garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
Swanson flavor boos packet (this is concentrated chicken broth)
olive oil, butter for sauteing
Real grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, set aside
reserve some pasta water in case you need it to add to your sauce

Cut your chicken breasts into bite size pieces.
Season liberally with salt and pepper, oregano and basil

Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in your saute pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter, allow to melt
Saute chicken until done, i like it to have a little golden color to it
Sprinkle with Cayenne pepper flakes
add garlic and allow to saute
Add flavor boost, stir well to distribute
Add a little pasta water if you need more "sauce"
Add pasta, toss to coat
Plate and top liberally with Parmesan cheese

The cheese really adds to this dish since the sauce is very minimal.

Delicious with a side salad, artisan bread and a good Chianti or chardonnay
Plus, I had this on the table in under 30 minutes!