Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Caramel Pudding Cake

Caramel Pudding Cake

4 C water
2 C brown sugar
1/2 C butter, divided
1 C sugar

2 C flour
1 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 C milk
1 t vanilla
1 C chopped peeled apples (optional)
1/2 C raisins (optional - NO :)
1/2 C nuts (optional)
Whipped cream (not optional)

Mix and boil together water, brown sugar and 1/4 C butter, set aside.  Cream remaining 1/4 C butter and sugar.  Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk to butter and sugar.  Stir in remaining optional ingredients.  Spread batter in greased 9x13 pan.  Pour hot brown sugar and butter mixture over batter.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Serve with whipped cream.

**The original recipe from the Lion House has all the optional ingredients in it, but my kids voted them out. And....I have to be honest and say that the flavor doesn't even change without the apples. So it's up to you.

**This is often made on many a Sunday night during the winter.  It's so yummy! And it was delish for us tonight to finish off one of Gray's birthday dinners! Happy 16th big guy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Butternut Chicken Curry

Butternut Chicken Curry

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 (14 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk, lite or regular
1 heaping T mild Indian curry paste (such as Patak's)
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 T brown sugar
1 T Thai fish sauce

Place squash in a microwave-safe dish and add enough water to just cover bottom of dish.  Cover and microwave for several minutes until squash is very tender.  Drain water.  Mash squash slightly and set aside.

Bring 1/2 C of coconut milk and curry paste to a simmer in a large skillet over medium heat, whisking constantly. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce.  Then add chicken and squash.  Simmer until chicken is cooked through, stirring often, 6-8 minutes.  Serve over rice, couscous or pilaf.

**I used quinoa, my grain of choice.  I absolutely love this meal.  A meal all in one bowl makes me happy, it feels like fall!
**From Keeping Up Cookbook
**PS. Rock was thrilled that his dinner was the one photographed...cute guy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apple Sandwiches

 peanut butter and granola
 yogurt and bananas
 ham and cheese
 Nutella and pretzels
 spinach and bacon

Apple Sandwiches

Slice apple 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick horizontally.  Core apple slices, to make nice apple circles.  Dip in pineapple juice to reduce browning. Blot dry with a paper towel.  Add whatever combinations sound good to create a sandwich.

other ingredient ideas:

-chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter or cinnamon chips
-ritz crackers
-cheez whiz
-sliced nuts
-chicken salad
-any fruit
-sliced deli meat
-different cheeses
-beets and goat cheese (ok, it's for the grown ups, YUM!)

**I have loved apples with peanut butter for a long time, then one day I dipped it into granola and was in heaven!  Then a friend asked me to come up with a fun after school snack idea for a church idea night. This is what I did.  The kids liked all of my samples, but somehow the 5 spinach leaves stayed on the plate while the apple and bacon were gone...hmmm.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brown Butter Sauce

Brown Butter Sauce

8 T Butter
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t chopped fresh sage, rosemary or basil (I used Sage)
4 T heavy cream
1/2 C grated parmigiano-reggiano

In a small saucepan, melt 8 T butter and 1/2 t salt over med-low heat.  Add 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage and cook, stirring often, unitl the butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes or less.  Stir in 4 T heavy cream and bring to a boil for  20 seconds or so to combine cream with butter.  Remove from heat.  Add 1/2 C grated parmigiano-reggiano when tossing with pasta.

**It is September, so the garden is abundant.  Spaghetti squash, yellow squash, zucchini, sage and tomatoes all from our garden.  This is garden heaven!
**This sauce is quite thin, flavorful and salty, so a little goes a long way.  I haven't ever tossed it into a pasta, I have always added the cheese to the sauce and then drizzled it over the plated pasta, or spaghetti squash.
**This great recipe came from my fantastic neice Stephanie who lives in Hawaii and taught a class on browned butter.  She is a master foodie! Thanks Steph!

Granola Perfection

Granola Perfection (at least in my mind)

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 C wheat flakes  (All Bran)
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 C cup chopped almonds (or sliced)
3/4 C cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl stir together oats, wheat flakes, coconut, almonds, pecans, cinnamon, and salt.  In a small saucepan melt butter over med-low heat and continue cooking until butter browns. It should be a caramel color, not dark brown.  Remove from heat and add honey and vanilla.  Stir to combine.  Add vanilla and pour butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until combined.

On a large baking sheet, spread the granola evenly in a thin layer.  Bake, stirring every 5 minutes to keep from sticking or burning, until golden brown and crisp, about 20-25 minutes.  (Do not overcook; the granola will crisp more when cooled.)  Cool granola on the pan.  Store in an airtight container.

**This in my opinion is my favorite combo of granola recipes....and believe me, in the last month, I've made several!  Breanna introduced me to this masterpiece, which is salty and has a few more nuts.  I have always loved this one, which is sweet, but light and crunchy from the wheat flakes.  So, I combined the two and I'm in parfait heaven!

**I prefer chopped almonds, but in a time pinch, the pre-sliced are nice.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tracy's Two Bean Salad

Tracy's Two Bean Salad

2 Cans Great Northern Beans
5 C fresh green beans
3 green onions, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 C fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 C feta cheese, crumbled
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/4 C olive oil
(salt and pepper to taste)

Boil green beans until soft but sitll crisp.  When done, strain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.  Chop.  Drain the Great Northern Beans and rinse. Place both beans, bell pepper and green onion in a large bowl.  Mix dressing by combining lemon zets and juice with oregano and olive oil.  Toss salad with dressing.  Add feta and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

** My friend Tracy Wolsey made this salad and I loved it! I added the tomatoes for fun and they ended up being one of my favorite parts.  The flavors are so yummy and Greek! Awesome to have a salad in the line up that is healthy and different!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Christy's Totally Gnarly Peanut Butter Bars

Christy's Totally Gnarly Peanut Butter Bars

2 cups oats (I usually use regular, not quick)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup peanuts, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
1 cup butter, melted

Mix well with a fork.  Press (really smush with a fork)  half of mixture in a jelly roll pan.

2 cans sweetned condensed milk
2 cups peanut butter

Mix and pour over bottom layer:

Top with remaining crumbles and sprinkle with a large bag of M&Ms. Press down with hands. Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes or until brown.

** I remember eating these in high school at Christy's house in North Carolina. Few things remind me more of her than m & m's and these bars! Plus, they taste dang good and they make a ton! Thanks Hood!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chocolate Delight

Chocolate Delight


1 C flour
1/2 C butter, melted
1/2 C chopped pecans
Mix well and pat into a 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

2nd Layer

12 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 1/2 C cool whip
Blend and spread over cooled crust.

3rd Layer

2 Lg chocolate instant pudding
4 C cold milk
Beat for 2 minutes.  Spread over cream cheese layer.  Chill.

When ready to serve, spread with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

4th Layer

2 C heavy cream
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
Whip cream until almost set, add sugar and vanilla and finish whipping. Spread on chocolate layer and shave chocolate over top.

**I requested this for my birthday for as many birthdays as I can remember. FAVORITE.
** whip is lame, but it does take out a step of whipping cream twice, so it just depends on my energy level.
**The original recipe was quite a bit thinner, so I beefed it up a little making each layer a bit thicker, except for the crust (which I may go double on next time).