Thursday, June 30, 2011

Peppermint Patties

32oz powdered sugar
4 TBS butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup evaporated milk
24 oz chocolate chips

Line 2 cookie sheets with wax paper and set aside.
Put butter, vanilla, peppermint extract and evaporated milk in an electric stand mixer. Slowly add in powdered sugar until the mixture is the consistency of play-doh. (You don't want the mixture to be dry and crumbly, if it is add a little more milk) Roll into 1-2 inch balls and flatten into patties. Place the patties on the lined cookie sheets and freeze for at least 30 minutes. While they're in the freezer, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. When the chocolate is all smooth, remove one tray of patties from the freezer and begin dipping them in the chocolate one by one. (I used a fork to lower them into the chocolate, a spoon to cover them with chocolate, then lifted them back out with the fork, scraped off the excess chocolate with the spoon and I used a butter knife to slide the patties off the fork and back onto the cookie sheet.) When one whole tray is done, place it in the refrigerator to set the chocolate. Then remove the second tray from the freezer and repeat the process. When they're all set up, place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator.

I love, Love, LOVE York peppermint patties! So, when I found this blog, I got excited and knew I had to give this recipe a try. They were pretty easy to make and definitely worth the effort!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crescent Rolls

2 TBS active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup butter, softened (to spread on the dough before baking)

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees). Set aside and allow yeast to activate.
Heat butter and milk until butter is melted. Allow to cool.
Add sugar, salt, eggs and yeast mixture to the milk and butter.
In a stand mixer, combine the flour and the milk mixture. Mix until smooth and dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If mixture is too sticky, add up to 1 more cup of flour. The dough should be slightly sticky but workable.
Cover the mixing bowl and allow to rise until double in size. About 1 hour.
Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and form into balls.
On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into about a 16" disk.
Using the back of a spoon, spread 1/2 cube of very soft butter all over each of the disks.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough like a pizza into 16 equal pieces from each disk. (You should have 32 triangles) Grab hold of both ends of the bottom of the triangle and gently stretch the dough and roll up to the point. Place each roll onto a cookie sheet, curving it into a crescent shape. (Make sure to tuck the point under the roll so it doesn't pop up and burn)
Allow to rise for about another hour.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes then brush the tops of the hot rolls with melted butter.

These crescent rolls have quickly become a favorite in our house. I attribute it to the fact that they contain butter, butter and more butter. Boy are they delicious! Skyler loves them so much that he'll try to grab them off the pan and eat them before they're even baked. He's done it twice now. And IF there are any left over that's what he wants for breakfast the next day. They are so soft and delicious! This recipe is easily halved, that's what I usually do unless we're having a big dinner party. On an average night16 rolls is plenty. Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sugar Cookies

3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 TBS milk
powdered sugar for rolling out cookies
Preheat oven to 375

In an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until light in color. Add egg and milk. On a low speed, gradually add flour, baking powder and salt and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide dough in half, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

for cut out cookies:
Sprinkle counter (where you will roll out the dough) with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time. Sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shape and place at least 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet.

for sliced cookies:
before refrigerating, roll dough into a log (similar to the cookie dough you buy in the refrigerator section of the grocery store) then slice dough with a sharp knife into1/4 inch slices and place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet.

Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet half way through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after baking before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve as is or try them with this cream cheese frosting....

1 cube cream cheese
1/2 pound of powdered sugar
2 tbs milk

combine all ingredients with an electric mixer, adding more milk or powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency.

.....Or you can try spreading some Nutella on them. Super Yummy!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

1 large eggplant
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar pasta sauce
2 cups bread crumbs
3 eggs
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup sliced mushrooms
8-10 basil leaves, chopped
2 TBSP olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the eggplant crosswise in 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and let them sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse off the salt and pat dry with a paper towel. This will remove excess water and bitterness.
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture, wetting both sides. Dip the eggplant in the bread crumbs, thoroughly coating the surface. Lay the breaded slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on each side or until the bread crumbs are beginning to brown.
Saute the garlic and mushrooms in olive oil. Add the diced tomatoes and pasta sauce and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and add the chopped basil leaves.
Remove the eggplant from the oven and assemble the casserole. Place a layer of eggplant in the bottom of a medium size baking dish. Cover the slices with a layer of sauce then a layer of cheese. Repeat layers until the baking dish is full, ending with a layer of sauce and sprinkle cheese on top. Cover and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until the cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

Not too long ago, Rich kept asking me to buy eggplant whenever we would go to the store. I had never eaten eggplant that I could recall and I certainly had never cooked it before. I had no idea what to do with it and I was a bit intimidated by it. I went ahead and bought one and when I came home I began searching for recipes using eggplant. Somewhere online (I don't remember where) I stumbled across this one. Typically eggplant parmesan is fried and I liked that this was a healthier baked option. The first time I made it, it was a huge hit even with my picky 2 year old who doesn't like to eat his veggies. He cleaned his plate and had seconds, crazy. I thought it must have been a fluke but when we had it for left overs a few nights later he scarfed it down again. I did tweak the recipe a little bit to fit our tastes. We love mushrooms in everything so I added those and the fresh basil, both of which are absolutely delicious in this dish. I am now an eggplant lover! This is a really yummy recipe that tastes just as good left over as it does fresh.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

No Bake Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake

Lemon Cheesecake Filling:
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2/3 cup whipping cream

Raspberry Mousse:
3 TBS cold water
1 cup raspberry puree
3 TBS sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup whipping cream, soft peaks

Raspberry Gelee:
3 TBS cold water
1 1/2 cups raspberry puree
6 TBS sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin

I adapted this recipe from the one I found on the Barbara Bakes Blog
Her's looked so unbelievably delicious I just had to give it a try! I'm always up for a delicious new cheesecake recipe and the fact that this was a no bake recipe, which required no eggs, was a double bonus for me. I have a nephew with an egg allergy and the poor kid always gets left out when we have cheesecake. I've been looking for a recipe that he can eat for quite some time now. The crust in the original recipe looked a bit more difficult and time consuming than I was willing to do, and it called for eggs, so I substituted a coconut crust and it was really good! I think an Oreo crust or a Nilla Wafer crust would also work well with this recipe.

Lemon cheesecake filling:
Put the lemon juice in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let it stand until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave the mixture until it is bubbling around the edges and the gelatin dissolves, about 20 seconds. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and salt until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the whipping cream and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the gelatin mixture. Beat until the mixture is smooth and airy, about 3 minutes.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate the cheesecake until set, about 1 hour.

Raspberry Mousse:
Put the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let it stand until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave the mixture until it is bubbling around the edges and the gelatin dissolves, about 20 seconds. Add the gelatin to the raspberry puree.
Fold the whipped cream into the puree. Pour the mousse on top of the cheesecake layer and let it set in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Raspberry Gelee:
Put the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let it stand until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave the mixture until it is bubbling around the edges and the gelatin dissolves, about 20 seconds. Add the gelatin to the raspberry puree. Pour the gelee on top of the raspberry mousse and let it set several hours in the refrigerator before serving. If you're feeling really fancy you can melt some white chocolate and drizzle it on top once the gelee is set.

I think this dessert turned out really well. If I was really craving cheesecake it would not satisfy my desire but I think it's the perfect summertime dessert. It's very light and delicious!

Coconut Crust

7 oz shredded coconut
1/2 cube melted butter

Combine butter and coconut and press in the bottom of pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

This coconut crust is super easy and very delicious! There are many ways to use it. Today I made this as the crust for a lemon raspberry cheesecake instead of the normal graham cracker crust. You could also make up a box of instant coconut pudding and you have a very quick and easy coconut cream pie.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Squares

1 cup flour
1/2 cup minute oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

1 pound can pumpkin
1 -13 1/2 oz can evaporated milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP butter

Mix flour, oats, brown sugar and butter until crumbly and press into 9 x 9 inch ungreased pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
Combine pumpkin with milk, eggs, sugar and spices. Pour over crust and bake for 20 minutes.
Mix nuts, brown sugar and butter together. Sprinkle over filling and return to oven for 15-20 minutes or until filling is set. Cool in pan and serve with whip cream on top.

Another favorite recipe from my childhood. Give this one a try this fall and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. It's hard for me to eat regular pumpkin pie after eating these my whole life. The brown sugary, oatmeal crust and the brown sugar, pecan topping make this the BEST pumpkin pie EVER, in my opinion :)

Oatmeal Candy Cookies A.K.A. No Bake Cookies

3 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 TBSP Hershey cocoa
1 cube butter
dash of salt
dash of cream of tartar
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups minute oats
Yield about 2 dozen

Bring all ingredients, except peanut butter and oats, to full boil for 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and oats. Mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let cool.

These are another favorite from my childhood and whenever I make them they disappear in no time. Just make sure you have plenty of milk on hand before making these. You're gonna need it!

Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 3/4 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut
1 cup craisins
1 cup white chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar in an electric mixer. Add in vanilla and eggs. Next add salt, flour, baking soda, and oatmeal. Stir in walnuts, coconut, craisins and white chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10-13 minutes.

I got this recipe from Sharon, a co-worker of mine when I worked at the credit union. She made these for me on my birthday and they are soooo yummy. The craisins and white chocolate chips were my addition to the recipe and these cookies are just as good without them if you don't have them on hand.

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup milk
Yield 10 biscuits

Combine all ingredients in an electric mixer. Bake at 450 for 12 minutes.

When I was growing up my mom made these biscuits every time she made a pot of chili or soup. They're perfect with some freezer jam!

Pie Crust

2/3 cup oil
1/3 cup milk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in an electric mixer. Divide dough in half and roll out between 2 sheets of wax paper. Peel off the top layer of wax paper, turn upside down and transfer to pie pan. Peel off the other layer of wax paper. Trim the edges and add the trimmings in with the other half of the dough. Roll out the same way and use either as the top crust or if you don't need a top crust use as the bottom crust for another pie.

This is a really great pie crust recipe and the only one I will make. Using the wax paper to roll out the crust instead of a floured surface makes the crust light and flaky instead of tough. This crust works really well for fruit pies or for pot pies.

Creamy White Chicken Chili

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut in 1/2 inch cubes)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 bag of *dried great northern or navy beans
2 cans chicken broth
2- 4 oz cans chopped green chilies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a large sauce pan saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are soft. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cream. Serve immediately.

Let me just say that I cannot take credit for this delicious recipe. I got it from my friend, Jenny, who is an awesome cook! She made this for a chili cook off at our church and it was my favorite one by far and I didn't even know who had made it at the time. I spent the whole night trying to find out who made it so that I could get the recipe but they were keeping all of the entries anonymous so you couldn't cheat and vote off of anything besides taste. I kept a close eye on who picked up the crock pot at the end of the night and was disappointed to see that I didn't know the person picking it up so I sent Rich over to ask them for the recipe. Turns out they were relatives of Jenny's and they were just grabbing the crock pot for her. YAY!

Sometimes I add mushrooms, celery and/or carrots if I have them in my fridge just so that I can get a few extra veggies into my family's diet but other than that I do not recommend adjusting the recipe. I've tried to use milk instead of heavy cream and it does not turn out nearly as good. Take my word, this recipe is a perfect just the way it is!

*the original recipe calls for 2 -15 1/z oz cans of great northern beans and only 1 can of chicken broth but I like using dried beans better so that I can simmer it on the stove all day, that way I can start dinner earlier in the day and then whenever we're ready to eat, dinner's ready.

Banana Bread

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
3 cups ripe bananas (about 7 medium bananas)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 325. Grease two 9 x 5 loaf pans
In an electric mixer cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and bananas. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add flour, baking soda, salt and walnuts. Blend on a low speed just until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake on center rack of oven for 60-70 minutes. a toothpick inserted in center should come out clean and the bread should pull away from the sides of the pans. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn pans on sides and cool to room temperature (if you can make it that long without eating it)

I LOVE this banana bread! The brown sugar in the recipe makes the top crust so delicious!!

Pizza Dough and Pizza recipes

1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 TBS sugar
1 pkg dry yeast
2 TBS oil
Yield 2 pizzas

Put yeast, sugar, salt, milk and water in an electric mixer with a dough hook and stir to mix well. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Add oil and stir again. Gradually add flour until dough forms and flour is absorbed. On medium/low speed let the mixer knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to fit your pizza pans. Spray the outer edge of crust with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning if you like. Place in a warm area and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Top with your favorite sauce, cheese and toppings.
Bake in 475 degree oven for about 8-13 minutes or until the bottom of the crust is golden brown.

Some of our favorite pizzas are:

BBQ Chicken Pizza-
bbq sauce instead of red sauce
mozzarella cheese
cooked chicken
canadian bacon

Alfredo Chicken Pizza or Ranch Chicken Pizza-
alfredo sauce or ranch dressing instead of red sauce
mozzarella cheese
cooked chicken
artichoke hearts

Cheesy Breadsticks-
spray the pizza dough with olive oil
sprinkle entire crust with italian seasonings or pizza seasonings
lightly sprinkle with cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses
serve with marinara and ranch (they taste really good mixed together)


1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 TBS vegetable oil
2 TBS sugar

Mix all ingredients together. Spray a frying pan with Pam and pour 1/4 cup of batter into a hot pan. Spread batter really thin and cook over medium heat until light golden brown on both sides. Serve with strawberries and whip cream or your favorite topping.

Sometimes we put vanilla in the batter for a little something extra.

Peanut Butter Squares

Bottom Layer:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup melted butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Top Layer:
1 bag *chocolate chips
2 spoonfuls peanut butter

In an electric mixer combine peanut butter, butter and graham cracker crumbs. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Press in the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan and set aside. Put chocolate chips and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, stir and put back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Repeat this process stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Spread evenly over the peanut butter layer and refrigerate until set.

This is a favorite recipe that I've had and made ever since I was like 12. These are super easy to make and everybody who tries these LOVES them!

*I like these with semi-sweet chocolate but my brother-in-law likes them with milk chocolate chips so lately I've been compromising and using 1/2 of each and they are delicious like that.

Deluxe Waffles

2 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 TBS sugar
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine egg yolks, milk and oil together. Slowly add in flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix just until ingredients are moistened. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into batter. Cook in a waffle iron.

These are by far my favorite waffles! They are light and crispy because of the fluffy egg whites. Sometimes I like to add a little vanilla to the batter too.

Melting Moments Cookies

1/2 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cubes butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour

Mix all ingredients in an electric mixer. Roll into 1 inch balls and use a cookie stamp or flatten with a glass.

Bake at 35o for *10-25 minutes, until very light golden brown around the edges.

* this is a very broad baking time but ovens really do vary a lot. I have had ovens that only take 10 minutes to bake these and ovens that take the full 25 minutes. Just watch them close and when you notice them starting to get color around the edges they're done.

These are a very light cookie and taste delicious on their own but they're even better with Chocolate Chip Frosting on top.

Chocolate Chip Frosting

1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Over medium heat bring butter, sugar and milk to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and vanilla. ( I usually have the chocolate chips and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and pour the butter, sugar, milk mixture on top) Using a hand mixer beat until cool. This will easily frost a 13 x 9 cake.

This frosting is excellent on Angel Food cake, brownies, Melting Moments cookies or by the spoonful!

Spinach Dip

1 pkg. Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 pkg. frozen spinach
1 cup mayo
2 cups sour cream

Take the spinach while it's still partially frozen and shave it with a sharp knife. Finely dice water chestnuts and mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for best taste. Serve with sourdough bread, pita chips or your favorite crackers.

1 Dish Fruit Cobbler

1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 TBS baking powder
3 cups fruit
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a 13 x 9 pan melt butter in the microwave. Mix in flour, sugar, milk and baking powder. Dump in 3 cups of your favorite *fruit or berries. Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

This recipe is super easy and quick, doesn't dirty every dish in the kitchen and tastes delicious!!! What more could you ask for?

*I LOVE peaches so that's what I normally use. I made a peach/blueberry one once and it was to die for! Just use whatever you have on hand.