Saturday, October 18, 2014

Halloween Truffles

My intent was to make Buckeye Balls but instead they turned into Halloween Truffles. A really simple surprise you can give to guests at your Halloween shindig or put out on a tray as a treat to enjoy while you are carving pumpkins with the kids :)



Halloween Truffles

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 c peanut butter
3 c powdered sugar

2 tbl vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)
1 16 oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used guittard)

orange colored sugar sprinkles for decoration

In a large bowl combine the butter and peanut butter until well blended. You can use a mixer on the low setting or do it by hand. Now add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time until it completely incorporated. I opt to do this by hand so I don't end up with a sugar dusted kitchen lol. Once it's all mixed in , you can begin forming the balls. I lay out wax paper and take about a tbl or so of the peanut butter "dough" and roll  into a ball then place it on the wax paper.You should get at least 60 balls, sometimes I end up with 72. I think I am not always the best with consistency that way .
Now combine the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a microwave bowl and microwave in 30 sec intervals (stirring between each bout in the microwave) until the chocolate is melted. Roll each ball in the chocolate until it's coated-I do this with two forks-and place the truffle back on the wax paper . Sprinkle with the colored sugar .Repeat until all the truffles are done. Leave them to sit on the wax paper for an hour to be sure they set ,
That's it! Store them in a covered container -if they last long enough to store that is :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bulldog Cake

Last year I made this bulldog cake for my niece's birthday. It was in memory of the bulldog my brother, niece, and sister-in-law tragically lost. Thankfully the puppy cake made my niece smile :) This year I'm going to make her a Frozen themed Else cake...it was a toss up really between a minion or a princess ...Elsa won lol ;)


Halloween cakes

In my house we have a Halloween birthday...last year I made a bleeding brain cake for the birthday celebrating zombie lover. I love decorating cakes but sadly I no longer have any tools to do so.Long story short-an evil neighbor stole them. Which really is too bad, because I used to win awards for my cake decorating abilities. Eh well.. So now I wing it by using plastic bags and butter knives.
Several years ago I made a pumpkin birthday cake for my niece...either of these cakes would be great for a Halloween Party!



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Spicy Harvest Tuna loaf

Tuna what? Loaf? I'm fully aware the combo of ingredients in this is going to make you think I lost my mind. But seriously-this taste terrific! And you can use the leftovers to make sandwiches just like you would with traditional meatloaf. I served mine with garlic & black pepper mashed potatoes.



Spicy Harvest Tuna Loaf

1 box chicken flavored stuffing mix (such as Stove Top)
2 cans tuna in water (you can include the liquid.if you opt to drain them then add 1-2 tbl water)
1 cup canned pumpkin -I use Libby's brand-or cooked winter squash
1 cup shredded mozzarella (cheddar would be great,too)
1 cup sour cream
1 small onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 beaten egg
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (you can sub Worchestshire-whats this here- sauce)
1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients until well mixed. Pack tuna mixture into a standard size loaf pan that's been coated with cooking spray.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let stand in the loaf pan 10 minutes before you cut it.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cherry Rum Strudel

If I am not inventing recipes, it seems I am changing the ones I use from another source. I just can't leave it alone, I must somehow make it mine lol. I suppose that's alright, recipes should be an idea or a general framework from which a person can build from and develop a dish into something more personal.
Afterall, it would be a shame not to make a certain dish because you think you must have all the exact ingredients, substituting ingredients gives us freedom, exercises our creativity and more importantly keeps us in budget because we are punting with what's in our pantry. :)
The original recipe I adapted my version from can be found here- http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/cherry-cream-cheese-coffee-cake/d6c5d32e-3975-4ee1-a34a-4776f4d07e22
I made a few simple changes, but the integrity of the strudel remains the same lol. Below is my version of this recipe.




Cherry Rum Strudel

1/2
package  cream cheese, softened (i.e 4 oz)
1
1 1/2 tbl sugar
1 10 oz jar chopped maraschino cherries, well drained (I reserved 1/2 tbl liquid and added this to the filling as well)
1
can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
2/3
cup powdered sugar
2
teaspoons milk (use your judgement, you might need a splash more if you need a thinner glaze)
1 tsp rum extract

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheet with non stick spray. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, reserved liquid from cherries and the sugar with a mixer until it's fluffy. Now stir in the cherries and blend well.
Unroll the crescent dough on to the cookie sheet and press it out until it's about 13x7 inches though mine was probably a little wider than 7 inches. Make sure to close up all the seams if you are using the crescent rolls that aren't a solid sheet. (by pressing the perforations smooth to seal)
Spread the cherry filling  lengthwise down the center/middle 1/3 of the crescent dough rectangle. On each  side of the rectangle, make cuts  about 1 inch apart to edge of filling. Now fold alternating  strips of dough-one strip from each side as if you were actually braiding- over the cherry  filling and cross the strips  in the center to create the illusion of a braided coffeecake. Now  the  ends , folding them over the top if need be.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Move the strudel off the cookie sheet and onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before glazing. No, seriously.. I know you want to eat it right now but you'll burn your mouth..lol..wait a half hour or so.
To make your glaze, combine powdered sugar, rum extract and milk until smooth. Drizzle your glaze on top of  the strudel and it's done! time to eat it :)


Sunday Chicken & sides

Most Sundays we like to have chicken. Roasting is the preferred method in my house and it's been a tradition since I was a child. Today I'm making these fabulous roasted brussels sprouts with honeycrisp apples to go along with a thyme garlic roast chicken. This is such a great seasonal dish and a cinch to make!



Roasted Brussels Sprouts &Honeycrisp Apples

One 16 oz pkg frozen brussesl sprouts (they can be frozen, no need to thaw)
2 honeycrisp apples, roughly chopped
3 tbl maple syrup (you can use pancake syrup in a pinch , I did)
1 tbl oil
generous sprinkle thyme, salt & pepper

Mix all of the above right in your baking dish.Then roast at 375 F for about 45 minutes. Check it after 30 minutes and go from there to see if it's roasted to your liking.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pizza in a Pinch

What's better on a breezy, lazy Saturday afternoon? A pizza! This one is extremely quick to put together and you can use anything you have on hand as far as toppings go. The family was craving pizza, so I whipped open the pantry and worked with what we had on hand.



Pizza In A Pinch 

For the crust-
Mix together :
1 cup flour
a big pinch of salt
two big pinches of pizza seasoning or something like oregano (whatever you have handy)
1/2 cup canned (yes I used canned lol) parmesan cheese-you know the brand I am talking about-the stuff in the green can (don't pretend you don't have some sitting on a shelf in your cupboard! lol) . My family affectionately refers to it as Shakey Cheese
Now stir in 2 eggs and 2/3 cup milk.
The batter will be runny-that's what you want. Pour this batter into a greased 9x13 in pan. Bake the crust at 400 F for 15 minutes.

Now's the fun part- top it with whatever you like. I used thinly sliced summer sausage , diced onions and a handful of frozen mixed pepper strips. I didn't have pizza sauce but I did have a 6 oz can of tomato sauce with italian herbs in it. So I diluted it with about 1 c water to make a quick sauce. I simply spread the sauce on the crust, sprinkled the veggies and meat over the sauce and threw some shredded mozzarella on top. Then I returned the pizza to the oven-at a reduced temp of 350 F for another 10 minutes until it was all melty.

Yum!