Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mini Hamburgers

One of our favorite foods to make for the Super Bowl is mini hamburgers. We use my mom, Shari Price's homemade hamburger buns recipe from the family cookbook (let me know if you need me to post it too) to make mini buns with a small circle cookie cutter. We then fry mini hamburger patties and add cheese (cut with the same small circle cookie cutter used for the buns), a slice of pickle, a red onion ring, and a slice of cherry tomato. Then add a fancy toothpick to hold them all together. That step alone will dress up ordinary party food! They're not filling unless you eat 20 but they are fun and cute. I figure they're a perfect food for both men and women, because men love a good hamburger and women love anything cute and mini, so everyone wins. And that's what we want, right . . . everyone happy! Shane gets an honorary mention along with a posted photo because he helped me make them for our Super Bowl party in Oregon. A warning . . . they seemed to take forever!! So plan ahead. Make them during the warmup to the preparation to the pregame show . . . if there is such a thing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies in the World

My roommate Mary (again) just shared the EASIEST PB Cookie Recipe ever. Seriously.

1 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg

Mix Mix. Roll Into Balls. Smash with a fork so it has criss crosses. Cook until they're cooked.

I'm going to the store right now for some PB :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chocolate Cupcakes

My roommate Mary McMullin made this recipe yesterday, and I have to makes a world of difference!!!

* Chocolate cake mix (Mary recommends the Devil’s food)
* 4 eggs
* 1/2 c. warm water
* 1/2 c. oil
* 1 c. sour cream
* Chocolate chips

Mix Mix, bake according to package directions. Cover with the most amazing frosting of your choice. (I don't even think the frosting is needed. Unless it's buttercream frosting from Cake Love.) :)

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

I know we have a few Taco Soup Recipes on here... but this one was requested by Amy so I thought I'd post it here for easy reference.

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, with liquid
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix

In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until browned over medium heat. Drain, and set aside.
Place the ground beef, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend, and cook on Low setting for 8 hours.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Soft Pretzels

When it's below freezing I apparently have an innate mechanism that forces me to bake or try new recipes. This one turned out great and was fun, but rolling the dough into the ropes took me forever. I suggest inviting friends over and forcing them into servitude so your arms don't fall off. I got most of these instructions from a fellow blogger (Maria in PA), but changed a few things from her version.

1 1/4 cups warm water
3 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
3-4 cups flour

Soften yeast with sugar in water. Mix in all other ingredients and knead till smooth and elastic. Let rise till double in bulk (about 1 hour). Divide dough into 4 sections and then divide each section into 6 pieces.

Roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long. Shape the rope into a circle, overlapping about 4 inches from the end. Twist the ends where dough overlaps. Lift the ends across to the opposite edge of the circle. Moisten and press ends to seal. Place on a greased cookie sheet and let rise uncovered until puffy, about 20-30 minutes.

Mix 2 Tbsp baking soda in 2 cups hot water. Dip shaped pretzels into mixture for 10 seconds on each side. Place on greased cookie sheets. Brush with egg white and sprinkle coarse sea salt before baking.

Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Remove from cookie sheets and serve with mustard, cheese sauce or marinara.

I did half my batch with the egg white/salt mixture and the other half I cooked plain and then dipped them in butter and sprinkled the sea salt after baking. Both were good. Super hot, I preferred the egg white ones, but cooled off a bit the butter ones were better. So, really it just all depends on how much will-power you've got. Next time I'm going to try some cinnamon and sugar ones as well as Parmesan.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Brownie Footballs

Just in time for the Super Bowl, here's a fun recipe. I can't take credit for it as it is from my cooking idol, Betty . . . Betty Crocker. In her cheesy words, "You’ll score a touchdown at any party when you make these rich chocolaty brownies in this fun shape!" The worst part of the recipe . . . it only makes 12 brownies. I think I'll be making three or four batches!

Prep Time: 30 min.
Start to Finish: 2 hr.
Makes: 12 brownies

1 package Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
1/4 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
Football-shaped cookie cutter, 3 1/2 x 2 inches
1 tub Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy chocolate ready-to-spread frosting (or I prefer the "Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting" recipe found at this link:
1 cup white baking ships
1 T milk
1 T butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350. Line rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches, with aluminum foil, letting foil hang 2 inches over short ends of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray. Stir brownie mix, chocolate syrup, water, oil and eggs in medium bowl until well blended. Spread in pan. Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean (which really just means that the toothpick will come out with barely not enough brownie to lick off of it . . . disappointing, yes, but a hopeful sign that the brownies are almost done!). Cool completely, about 1 hours. Remove brownies from pan, using foil to lift. Cut brownies into football shapes, using cookie cutter. Frost footballs with frosting. Place baking chips, milk and butter in small microwavable bowl. Microwave uncovered on medium-high 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 10 seconds longer or until chips are melted. Drizzle melted chips over frosting to look like football laces.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

Perhaps this is a weird recipe to post or maybe shepherd's pie reminds you too much of leftover day at school lunch. But since all my cookbooks are still packed, I thought I'd search online for a good home-cooked meal. I thought this turned out tasty. I didn't put the egg in. I used chicken broth instead of cream. And I added green beans instead of peas. And of course I didn't have Worcestershire or paprika. But it was still tasty.

30 Minute Shepherd's Pie Recipe
courtesy Rachael Ray

2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 pounds ground beef
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Chocolate Truffle Cake

1 chocolate cake mix
8 oz chocolate instant pudding mix
5 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
16 oz sour cream
1 bag of chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350
Combine cake and pudding mixes then create a well in the middle of a large bowl. Dump the sour cream, melted butter and eggs in the well.
Use a large spoon (this is so thick that your mixer will fry) mix all of the ingredients together. Pour the entire bag of chocolate chips in and mix again.
Spray bundt pan with some pam and put the batter in it.
Bake 50 - 55 minutes. Once it is done baking let it cool for 10 minutes then flip the cake out.
This cake does not need any frosting, but some fresh whipped cream or ice cream makes it yummy. You can eat it right away but it is REALLY REALLY so much better if you let it sit for a day. It really makes all the difference.

Green Minestrone

I know this recipe sounds a little more like "Green Eggs and Ham" than anything appetizing, but it really is super yummy. I also just used bacon rather than fancy pancetta, and no garbanzo beans for me.

Green Minestrone

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
4 slices pancetta or 1/4 pound thick cut prosciutto, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 can white beans, cannellini
1 can garbanzo beans, ceci
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup ditalini pasta or mini penne pasta
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
10 ounces triple washed spinach, stems removed and coarsely chopped, or any other dark greens
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, plus extra to pass at the table
12 to 16 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded or 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves

Heat a soup pot over medium high heat. Add oil and pancetta or prosciutto. Saute 2 minutes and add onions, celery, garlic, zucchini and bay to the pot. Season vegetables with salt and pepper, to your taste. Saute vegetables 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add white beans, garbanzo beans and chicken broth to the pot. Cover soup and bring to a boil. Add pasta and green beans to the soup and cook 8 minutes, or until pasta is just tender. Stir in spinach to wilt, 1 minute. Stir in grated cheese and ladle soup into bowls. Top soup with torn or shredded basil or chopped parsley.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

So Good Chocolate Pudding Pie

This pie is so easy and so good! A fun dessert to take somewhere. It's always gone in seconds! What makes it so yummy is the fudge layer with the buttery graham cracker crust. Mmmm! It's definitely a favorite at our house. And this is not a picture of the actual pie, just a google search of something that looked close enough. :)

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tbsp butter, melted

Mix, press in pie pan. Bake @ 350 for 6-8 minutes. (Better to make this from scratch and not use a ready-made crust because I think it tastes so much better.)

3 squares semisweet baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Mix together and melt in microwave for 20 seconds. Stir, melt another 20 seconds, stir. Repeat until melted, being careful not to burn chocolate (usually just takes 2 or 3 times.) Pour fudge mixture into slightly cooled crust.

2 pkgs (4 oz each) instant chocolate pudding
2 cups cold milk
8 oz Cool Whip, thawed

Mix milk and pudding with wire whisk. Spoon over fudge. Spread cool whip on top of pudding. Chill for 3 hours. Serve.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lemon Garlic Roasted Beets

I have really not liked beets, but these were really good.

Lemon Garlic Roasted Beets
1 lb. beets, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin or minced
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 pinch each, salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375*. In an 8" square glass baking dish, toss all ingredients together. Rub a piece of parchment paper with olive oil and set oiled side down on the beets. Cover tightly with tin foil and roast for 40 minutes, shaking pan occasionally.

To be honest I forgot to do the parchment paper and the tin foil, but these were still really good.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chicken-Chile Quesadillas

This is our favorite new recipe . . . it's one of those that is quick and easy, perfect for those nights when you have no idea what to make for dinner.

1 package flour tortillas for burritos
2 cups finely shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 cups shredded or finely chopped cooked chicken
1 can chopped green chiles
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 cup salsa

1. Top one half of each tortilla with cheese, chicken and green chiles. Fold other half of each tortilla over filling; press down with back of pancake turner. Lightly brush melted butter on both sides of each filled tortilla.

2. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 2 filled tortillas at a time 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and hot. Cut into wedges. Serve with salsa.

Another idea: add chopped or sliced olives, chopped onions, peppers, etc.