Archives for April 2008

Are they worth $1,000,000.00??????

This is what ONE MILLION DOLLARS looks like!!! Carolyn Gurtz of Gaithersburg recently won the Pillsbury Bake Off to the tune of $1,000,000.00 with this cookie. So you know I had to try it for my self. While the cookie was really easy to make, I am not sure it is worth all of that […]

No need for Takeout!

Olive Garden’s Tuscan Garlic Chicken Ingredients4 each (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon1 Tbsp salt2 tsp black pepper2 tsp Italian seasoning1 lb fettuccine pasta, cooked according to package directions5 Tbsp olive oil1 Tbsp garlic, chopped1 red pepper, julienne cut1/2 cup white wine1/2 lb whole leaf spinach, stemmed2 cups heavy […]

Nutella Peanut Butter Brownies

So last night I posted about the “Joys of Nutella“. Well after finding a recipe that look worth making, I just knew I had to get rid of that jar of Nutella before I ate it all! And the winner is…drum roll please………… Nutella Peanut Butter Brownies 1 cup unsalted butter 2 cups sugar 2 […]

Oh the Joys of Nutella!

Ok, so I though I would just tease you tonight! For those of you who do not know what Nutella is…well shame on you..have you been hiding under a rock. Well I suggest you put your P.J’s on and run to the grocery and get a tub or two. This soft chocolate hazelnut spread is […]

Need a smile? No baking required!

There was no scooping, measuring, pouring(except for the syrup) or preheating required to get a smile for a 2 1/2 year old. Some of my cooking isn’t approved by my kids, so I went the simple route on this one. I really did buy this Fat Free frozen yogurt for my children. So I had […]

Trisha Yearwoods..Chicken Pie

This dish wasn’t really what I expected it to be. Yes it did have a rich and creamy comfort food taste, but it was more like a soupy chicken pot pie minus the veggies. The biscuit topping was delightful and had a tiny bit of tang from the buttermilk. Don’t get me wrong it was […]

Coconut Shortbread..YUM

Ok…so I am a dork and many people know this..And my head also tends to be in the clouds.SO when I was rewriting this recipe, I noticed that it called for ONE cup of butter…hmmm I distinctly only remember putting one stick of butter in the mixer. Aggghhhh..One stick is sooo not ONE cup of […]

Can you say BEAUTIFUL???

CHOCOLATE HARVEST CAKE This very pretty to look at cake is VERY rich. The pumpkin filling is super creamy. I think next time instead of using pumpkin, I will use a strawberry filling of some sort. Cake 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup water 2/3 cup cooking oil 2 cups sugar 2 egg 1 teaspoon baking […]

Cherries and Cheescake!

Cherry Cheesecake Muffins I have to say I am more of a Chocolate fan but these yummy and extremely moist muffins were just delish. I found them while perusing through Foodnetwork.com They look messy but also professional! 1 box moist white cake mix 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup sour cream 2 eggs 1/4 […]

My first entry into the blogging world….

And what a better way to do it than with Coconut Cake!! I made this cake for Easter and it was a big Hit. Although I was up in the air about it.I found this beautiful cake on Food Network..Jamie’s Coconut cake…by the glorious Paula Deen. Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake with coconut milk2 sticks butter, at […]

ps_menu_class_0

Are they worth $1,000,000.00??????

This is what ONE MILLION DOLLARS looks like!!! Carolyn Gurtz of Gaithersburg recently won the Pillsbury Bake Off to the tune of $1,000,000.00 with this cookie. So you know I had to try it for my self. While the cookie was really easy to make, I am not sure it is worth all of that lute! My normal official taste testers, my sister and my husband had different opinions. My sisters reaction was, “I have tasted other cookies you have made that are much better than these.” And my husband said, ” these are probably one of the best peanut butter cookies I have eaten, but I not sure a prize winner.”

What are my thoughts? Ehhh. They are pretty good. I guess just the thought of knowing how much money they are worth, one might expect more out of them. I am not much of a fan of packaged cookie dough. My consensus is they taste too processed and have a chemical aftertaste. But those two not so pleasing qualities are well camouflaged by the added ingredients like the cinnamon and peanuts. They are nice and chewy and the peanut butter middle is a nice treat.

Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup Fisher® Dry Roasted Peanuts, finely chopped
1/4cup Domino® or C&H® Granulated Sugar
1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2cup JIF® Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2cup Domino® or C&H® Confectioners Powdered Sugar

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® Create ‘n Bake® refrigerated peanut butter cookies, chilled

DIRECTIONS
1.
Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
2.
In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) balls.
3.
Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.
4.
Roll each covered ball in peanut mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. On ungreased large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Spray bottom of drinking glass with CRISCO® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray; press into remaining peanut mixture. Flatten each ball to 1/2-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle any remaining peanut mixture evenly on tops of cookies; gently press into dough.
5.
Bake 7 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Store tightly covered.

My additions…. I added 1 Tablespoon of honey and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla to the filling mixture.

Tips…. use a teaspoon scoop to measure the filling balls.

Final thoughts…every good cookie belongs in a nice cold glass of milk!!

No need for Takeout!

Olive Garden’s Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Ingredients
4 each (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 lb fettuccine pasta, cooked according to package directions
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic, chopped
1 red pepper, julienne cut
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 lb whole leaf spinach, stemmed
2 cups heavy cream
1 cups Parmesan cheese, grated

Procedures
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
MIX 1½ cups flour, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.
HEAT 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook chicken breasts 2 at a time over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp (2-3 min). Add more oil for each batch as necessary.
PLACE cooked chicken breasts on a baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
HEAT 2 Tbsp oil in a sauce pan. Add garlic and red pepper and cook for approximately 1 minute. Stir in 1 Tbsp flour, wine, spinach and cream and bring to a boil. Sauce is done when spinach becomes wilted. Complete by stirring in Parmesan cheese.
COAT cooked, drained pasta with sauce, then top with chicken and remaining sauce. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese.


I am not a big fan of peppers, but I went with the recipe one this one. And much to my surprise, they did not overpower the sauce at all.

The sauce was delicate with just a hint of garlic


I was very happy with the meal. I seriously could have eaten the whole thing. Even my 2 1/2 year old ate the noodles(and she NEVER eats noodles). Like I said before, the red peppers were not overpowering. And the spinach was fresh and added wonderful color. I used fresh pasta instead of the boxed variety for a more authentic taste.

I never thought to go to a restaurants website for recipes. But I wont hesitate to look there in the future for new recipes!

***And from a photography standpoint….I know,I know, I should have platted this on a dark plate for some contrast from the mostly white dish. Problem is I don’t have many dark plates. I suppose I will have to build my collection.

Nutella Peanut Butter Brownies

So last night I posted about the “Joys of Nutella“. Well after finding a recipe that look worth making, I just knew I had to get rid of that jar of Nutella before I ate it all!

And the winner is…drum roll please…………

Nutella Peanut Butter Brownies

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (non-alkalized)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash salt
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish.
Melt the butter over low heat; when melted remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, and mix well.
Mix the peanut butter and chocolate spread in a small microwave-proof bowl, and heat in the microwave until it reaches a runny consistency. Stir the mixture into the batter; then pour it into the baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

The mixing of the dry ingredients.

And the end result of these super easy to make brownies is out of this world.

I really wasn’t able to taste much of the Nutella or the peanut butter which is somewhat disappointing since the Nutella has such a distinct flavor. But non the less, these were probably the most moist brownies I have made to date. The edges are nice and chewy, and the middles are tender and extremely moist! They did make a bit of a mess when I cut them because they are so tender. But the taste is still dark, rich and fudgy! These are a must bake!

Recipe courtesy Bethany Burchick from Pittsburgh, PA

Oh the Joys of Nutella!

Ok, so I though I would just tease you tonight!
For those of you who do not know what Nutella is…well shame on you..have you been hiding under a rock. Well I suggest you put your P.J’s on and run to the grocery and get a tub or two. This soft chocolate hazelnut spread is just sinful. You can cook with it, spread it on things or do what ever your little heart desires. (Just keep it P.G. please) To be quite honest, half of the tub is already missing. I will just twist that little white top off, take a spoon and just ahhhhhhh. Sooooo yummy.
SO I have not decided what I will do with the unused portion of this liquid heaven..but I will keep you posted..I am sure some chocolaty recipe will be soon to follow!

Need a smile? No baking required!

There was no scooping, measuring, pouring(except for the syrup) or preheating required to get a smile for a 2 1/2 year old. Some of my cooking isn’t approved by my kids, so I went the simple route on this one. I really did buy this Fat Free frozen yogurt for my children. So I had a bright idea when Emma was digging in….lets pour Hershey’s Syrup all over the top. Surely she would love it..my goodness, its chocolate and shes a girl, lets get her started early!! Well no, that’s not how it went down! Emma didn’t like the chocolate! So who had to eat the whole layer of chocolate off the top? You got it, our dog Max! No really, we don’t have a dog. So that would be me..I am the one who had to eat it. And may I say, I had to eat every tiny ounce of syrup off of the top white yogurt or she didn’t want anything to do with it!! Hey well at least we were both smiling!

Trisha Yearwoods..Chicken Pie

This dish wasn’t really what I expected it to be. Yes it did have a rich and creamy comfort food taste, but it was more like a soupy chicken pot pie minus the veggies. The biscuit topping was delightful and had a tiny bit of tang from the buttermilk. Don’t get me wrong it was very tasty..it just needs to be tweaked a bit. When I make this again ( and I will) I will add mushrooms and some frozen mixed vegetables. There we have it, it will be Chicken POT Pie..not just Chicken Pie!

3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups chicken broth
1 can (10oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup self-rising cake flour
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted.

Heat oven to 425º. In a 2 qt. casserole, evenly spread out chicken. In med. saucepan whisk together broth and soup; bring to a boil over med. heat. Pour over chicken.

In med. bowl, combine flour and pepper; stir in buttermilk and butter. Pour over chicken (do not stir.) Smooth top.

Bake pie uncovered until browned and bubbly about 45 min

Coconut Shortbread..YUM

Ok…so I am a dork and many people know this..And my head also tends to be in the clouds.
SO when I was rewriting this recipe, I noticed that it called for ONE cup of butter…hmmm I distinctly only remember putting one stick of butter in the mixer. Aggghhhh..One stick is sooo not ONE cup of butter but a measly 1/2 cup. Oh well..they were still wonderful. Maybe not as delicate w/ half of the butter…but look on the bright side…only HALF the fat!! My hips are rejoicing!

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature..ONE CUP OF BUTTER PEOPLE..thats TWO sticks!
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut (unsweetened is fine, too)

Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, or with aluminum foil.In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, blend flour, sugar and salt together. Mix in butter at low speed until dough is crumbly, but starting to come together. Stir in coconut and continue to mix until dough resembles wet sand; there should be large and fine clumps of dough in the mixing bowl.Pour shortbread dough into prepared pan and press it firmly down into a single, even layer. Score shortbread lightly to make it easier to slice later.Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are golden and top is very lightly browned. Middle of shortbread will be set, but not firm.Cool shortbread for 5 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into 18 bars. Cool shortbread entirely in pan.When cooled, remove shortbread from baking pan and store in an airtight container.
Makes 18 large shortbread fingers, or 24 smaller bars.
From: BakingBites

Can you say BEAUTIFUL???

CHOCOLATE HARVEST CAKE

This very pretty to look at cake is VERY rich. The pumpkin filling is super creamy. I think next time instead of using pumpkin, I will use a strawberry filling of some sort.

Cake

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup water

2/3 cup cooking oil

2 cups sugar

2 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

Pumpkin Cream Filling

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (softened)

1/3 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup whipping cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease (and flour) two 9″x1 1/2″ round baking pans.

Combine and whisk all cake ingredients BUT flour and cocoa powder.

Add flour and cocoa powder and whisk until even.

Spread evenly into the two pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until top springs back or toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together Pumpkin Cream Filling ingredients. (Make sure cream cheese is soft enough so you don’t end up with cream cheese chunks!).

Spread Pumpkin Filling on top of one cake and top it with the other.

Boil whipping cream over medium-high heat.

Remove from heat and add chocolate, DO NOT stir.

Wait 5 minutes until chocolate is melted, then stir until smooth and chocolate is liquid.

Wait until glaze has thickened (10 minutes) and then pour over top of cake.

Refrigerate cake or let set until glaze is fairly solid (15-30 min).

OPTIONAL: top with seasonal berries or nuts

I snagged this one from 2006 November Issue Of Better Homes and Gardens

Cherries and Cheescake!

Cherry Cheesecake Muffins
I have to say I am more of a Chocolate fan but these yummy and extremely moist muffins were just delish. I found them while perusing through Foodnetwork.com
They look messy but also professional!
1 box moist white cake mix
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (crushed with rolling pin)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup cherry preserves
Cheese Filling: 8 ounces cream cheese softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the batter, in a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, softened cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, and 1/4 cup sugar. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
To make the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a smaller mixing bowl, beat together all ingredients for cheese filling until smooth. Set aside.
Divide half of the graham cracker mixture among the 12 muffin cups and lightly press into bottoms. Fill cups all the way to the top with muffin batter. Place 1 teaspoon of cherry preserves on top of muffin batter and with a teaspoon, lightly cut preserves into batter.
With the back of a spoon dipped in water to keep from sticking, indent the batter and top with a dollop of filling to cover the cherry preserves. Sprinkle remaining graham cracker mixture over the top of muffins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before removing muffins from pan.
Be careful in removing them they might stick…I lost a few in the dreaded PAN.
You will love these.

My first entry into the blogging world….

And what a better way to do it than with Coconut Cake!! I made this cake for Easter and it was a big Hit. Although I was up in the air about it.
I found this beautiful cake on Food Network..Jamie’s Coconut cake…by the glorious Paula Deen.

Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake with coconut milk
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup flaked, sweetened coconut

7-Minute Frosting:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 cups coconut, flaked and sweetened

Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and coconut milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. Filling: Stir together sugar, sour cream, milk, and coconut in a bowl until well blended. Add first cake layer onto pedestal. Using the wrong end of a wooden spoon, poke holes approximately 1-inch apart until entire cake has been poked. Spread a third of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.

Frosting:
Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle top and sides of cake with coconut. Garnish with artificial holly, if desired.

Above is the recipe as published..but I did make some changes…
I added about a Tablespoon of Coconut Extract to the cake mix and filling.
I toasted the coconut for the outside of the cake..I think it looks prettier.

***MOST IMPORTANT*** Make the cake 3 days ahead of time..poke a bunch of holes in all 3 cakes. Put the filling on the cakes..assemble and wrap in plastic wrap or tin foil and put them in the fridge for THREE days!

Next time I make this cake I will try to put some crushed Pineapple in the filling.
I personally didn’t like the 7 minute frosting..I will do a basic cream cheese frosting on my next try!