Saturday, November 22, 2008

Divinity

My Mom's Divinity (so it's from BHG, every year my mom was asked to make this)
2 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 c light corn syrup
2 egg whites
1 t vanilla
1-2 drops food coloring, optional
1/2 c chopped nuts or candied fruit

1. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 260 degree F, hard-ball stage (10 to 15 minutes). (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.)
2. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with a freestanding electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gradually pour hot mixture in a thin stream over egg whites, beating on high speed about 3 minutes; scrape sides of bowl occasionally. Add vanilla and, if desired, food coloring. Continue beating on high just until candy starts to lose its gloss (5 to 6 minutes). When beaters are lifted, mixture should fall in a ribbon that mounds on itself.
3. Drop a spoonful of candy mixture onto waxed paper. If it stays mounded, the mixture has been beaten sufficiently. If mixture flattens, beat 1/2 to 1 minute more; check again. If mixture is too stiff to spoon, beat in a few drops hot water until candy is a softer consistency. Immediately stir in candied fruit. Quickly drop remaining mixture onto waxed paper. Store tightly covered for up to 1 week. Makes about 40 pieces.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pecan Praline Bars

#20 Pecan Praline Bars from Mary Engelbreit cookbook
crust:
3/4 c unsalted butter
1 c packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t salt
1 c flour
topping:
12 oz pecans (3c)
1/2 c unsalted butter
3 c packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/2 t salt
1 c heavy cream
2 T bourbon or dark rum

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line 15x10 jellyroll pan with foil, allowing foil to extend over sides. Grease.
2. In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium. Remove from heat & whisk in brown sugar, then eggs, vanilla, and salt with wooden spoon.
3. Stir in flour. Scrape into pan, spreading & smoothing with rubber spatula sprayed with cooking spray.
4. Bake 15 minutes or until springy. Cool on wire rack.
5. Spread pecans on large baking sheet & toast 8 min. Set aside til cooled.
6. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 2 minutes or until caramel reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage). Remove from heat.
7. Carefully add cream and bourbon to caramel (mixture may bubble up); stir until smooth. Stir in toasted nuts, then pour over crust.
8. Place pan on baking sheet to prevent crust from overbrowning and bake 25 minutes. Very carefully, holding pan level (topping isn't firm yet), transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cool completely.
9. Place baking sheet on top of jelly-roll pan and invert both together. Remove pan and peel off foil. Cover with a large cutting board and invert so bars are right side up. Using a sharp knife, cut into 60 squares.Makes 60 servings

Peanut Butter Blossoms

#17 Peanut Butter Blossoms Better Homes and Gardens....(tip for 1 month make ahead)
1/2 c shortening
1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 t baking powder
1/8 t baking soda
1 egg
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
1/4 c sugar
54 chocolate kisses or stars

1. In large mixing bowl beat the shortening and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Add sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in the rest by hand.
2. Shape dough into 1" balls. Roll balls in the 1/4 c sugar. Place 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 350 oven 10-12 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Immediately press a kiss into each cookie's center. Transfer to a wire rack, let cool. Makes about 54 cookies.
Make ahead tip: Bake & cool completely, pressing kiss into center. Arrange in an airtight freezer container in a single layer; cover with waxed paper. Repeat layers. Freeze up to one month.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

BBQ Beef & Corn Shepherd's Pie

BBQ Beef & Corn Shepherd's Pie by Betty Crocker

1 lb. ground beef (I always keep some pre-cooked in the freezer to save time)
8 medium green onions, sliced
1 c BBQ sauce
11 oz Mexicorn with red & green peppers, dr
4 oz chopped green chiles
1/2 box (7 oz size) Cheddar and bacon mashed potatoes
1 1/2 c water
1/3 c milk
2 T butter
1/2 c shredded Cheddar
corn chips (Fritos)

1. Cook ground beef and 1/4 c of onions in 10" nonstick skillet over medium-high; drain.
2. Stir in BBQ sauce, 3/4 c of the corn, and the chiles. Heat to boiling, reduce to low.
3. Cook potatoes as directed for 4 servings. Use 1 pouch potatoes nd seasoning, water, milk, and butter.
4. Stir in remaining onions and corn; let stand 5 minutes.
5. Spoon potatoes onto center of beef mixture, leaving 2 1/2"-3" rim around edge; sprinkle cheese all over. Cover; let stand 5 minutes til cheese is melted. Sprinkle corn chips around edge.
4 large servings

In my opinion: This had a very unique flavor but was good, easy, and required few dishes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Holiday Cooking

I don't know about you but I am soooo very much excited about cooking for the holidays. We stay home for Thanksgiving and I still cook the whole meal...just for my little family.

Up until last year, I have always baked about 10 different desserts to divide and take to my parents', my in-laws', and the huge family celebration at my grandmother's for Christmas. In previous years I have taken orders from co-workers and just baked to my heart's content. We're talking 30 lbs of candy! Last year we stayed here and I didn't get to do much because my little miracle was born on December 20.

This year will be quite different because I lost my mother in April and my grandmother in June. My aunts and uncles won't be having the big family gathering as we have my entire life. It just won't be the same. We don't know what we will do for Christmas this year. We don't know where we're going, if we're going anywhere at all, but I do know this, I am already planning on trying some new truffles, bark, and fudge recipes. Come back later and I'll tell ya what I tried and how it turned out.

Overwhelmed With Joy is once again hosting Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style. Please stop by her site and see what wonderful recipes everyone else is sharing. If you are new to my site, thanks for stopping by and please visit Aggieland Mommy where I still have MANY great recipes I need to move to this site. Last year I posted 25 Sweets in 25 Days. Please feel free to leave a comment, it gives me warm fuzzies to hear from you.

Happy baking!

My FAVORITE:
White Christmas Fudge by Domino Sugar

2 1/2 c powdered sugar
2/3 c milk
1/4 c butter
12 oz white chocolate, chopped
1/2 t almond extract
3/4 c dried cherries, chopped
3/4 c toasted almond slices

1. Line an 8" square pan with foil; grease foil.
2. Mix powdered sugar and milk in a heavy 3 qt saucepan. Over medium heat, add butter and stirring constatnly, boil constantly for 5 minutes.
3. Over low heat, add chocolate and almond extract. Stir then whisk until chocolatemelts & mixture is smooth.
4. Stir in dried cherries & toasted almonds. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
5. Refrigerate 2 hours until firm. Invert pan. Peel off foil & cut into 1" squares. Makes 36.

Tip: To toast almonds, spread in a single layer on cookie sheet with rim. Bake 350 for 5-10 minutes, shaking pan occassionally until they begin to brown & turn fragrant. Makes about 2.2 lbs.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bacon Cheddar Quiche

Bacon Cheddar Quiche by Taste of Home Cooking

14 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
6 oz sliced mushrooms, drained
1 T dried minced onion
5 eggs
5 oz evaporated milk
1/4 t cayenne pepper

1. In a greased 9" microwave safe pie plate, layer the bacon, cheese, mushrooms, and onion.
2. In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and cayenne; pour over the onion.
3. Microwave, uncovered, on high 6 minutes, stirring twice. Cook 2-3 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes or until set. Serves 4-6

In my opinion: the dried onions were a bit much. I used cresent rolls as crust and I baked it instead of using the microwave.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

10 Minute White Pizza

10 Minute White Pizza by Rachael Ray

Boboli pizza shell
EVOO
3 lg cloves garlic, monced
1 c shredded mozzarella
1 c shredded provolone
1/4 c grated Romano
15 oz artichoke hearts, drained and thinly sliced
1/4 c chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 500.
2. Put the pizza shell onto a pizza pan. Drizzle with oil and scatter garlic all over shell to edges. Cover the pie with a layer of all 3 cheeses combined and work all the way to the edge of the shell. Top with artichoke hearts. Cook 6-8 minutes until cheeses have melted and begin to bubble. Remove from oven and garnish with parsely. Cut and serve.

In my opinion:
This was a good pizza. The recipe was easy and required few dishes. I might add some roma tomatoes next time.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lemonade Pie

Lemonade Pie by Stephen's Granny Icy

1 can Eagle Brand Milk
6 oz frozen concentrate lemonade
2 Cool Whip
graham cracker crust

Mix and chill in the freezer.

In my opinion: Perfect for a hot summer day in Texas!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Banana-Pecan Dip for Fruit

Banana-Pecan Dip for Fruit by Kraft

1 md ripe banana
1/2 c fat-free cream cheese
3 T pecan pieces
1 T orange juice
2 t brown sugar
3 md apples, cored and sliced
3 md pears, cored and sliced

1. Mash banana in a medium bowl. Add cream cheese; beat with wire whisk until blended. Add pecans, OJ, and brown sugar; mix well. Serve with fruit.

In my opinion: This was okay, not as good as some of the other fruit dips I've made.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cinnamon French Toast

Cinnamon French Toast by mountain-breeze.com

1 lg egg (I used 2 eggs)
2 egg whites
1/4 c skim milk (I used whipping cream)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
8 slices French bread 1" thick (I used 4)
cinnamon-sugar *optional
maple syrup

1. In a shallow bowl, using a whisk, beat egg and egg whites until foamy. Add the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat well; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 200. Lightly spray a large non-stick skillet with vegetable cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Dip 4 of the bread slices into the egg mixture, turning to coat and draining excess back into the dish.
3. Place bread slices in prepared skillet. Cook until golden brown turning once, about 1-3 minutes each side. Transfer cooked slices to a plate; keep warm in oven. Dip remaining bread slices in egg mixture; cook as directed. Spray skillet with vegetable cooking spray as needed. Divide French toast among serving plates. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon-sugar and top with maple syrup. Serve immediatesly. Garnish with fresh berries.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup by Land O Lakes

1/4 c butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 t firmly packed brown sugar
14 1/2 oz can chicken broth
1/2 c water
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
15 oz can pure pumpkin
12 oz evaporated milk
1/8 t ground cinnamon

1. Melt butter in 3 qt saucepan until sizzling. Add onion, garlic, and sugar; cook over medium heat until onion is softened (1-2 minutes).
2. Add broth through pepper; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
3. Stir in pumpkin through cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Transfer mixture to food processor bowl fitted with metal blade or 5 cup belnder (in batches if necessary). NOTE: I did not have a food processor so I skipped this step.
5. Cover; process until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan. Serve warm.

In my opinion: I really liked this soup. I found it a little bland at first but I added salt and nutmeg and it turned out great.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


It's time for another menu plan. If you've never been to Organized Junkie, you're really missing out. Stop by her site after you browse through my recipes.


Sunday: Hubby grilled Slovacek sausage, pasta salad, and Buffalo Chicken Dip
Tuesday Night: Tuscan Pork Chops, Mashed potatoes, corn
Wednesday: Penne Alla Vodka by Weight Watchers
Friday: Family night out
Saturday: Hubby is grilling steaks, baked potatoes, and grilled vegetables

A Fabulous Dip


Buffalo Chicken Dip I found on K.C.'s Cafe
8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 c blue cheese or ranch dressing
1/2 c hot sauce or buffalo wing sauce
1/2 c crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 c shredded cooked chicken

Directions: Heat oven to 350. Place cream cheese into deep dish 9" pie plate. Microwave 1 minute to soften. Whisk in salad dressing, hot sauce, and cheese until smooth. Stir in chicken. Bake 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through. Serve with crackers, vegetables, or tortilla chips.

In my opinion: This dip was dee-lish. I might try it on French bread as a crostini or as a pizza. Yum yum!