Wednesday, May 28, 2008

whipped cream chocolate pie...

4 1/2 oz chocolate wafer(s), processed to crumbs
4 Tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 oz semi sweet chocolate, curled, chopped, or grated with a vegetable peeler

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs with melted butter until fully-incorporated; press into bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan and place in refrigerator.
In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on high, beat cream, sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form; gently fold in half of chocolate. Spoon whipped filling over prepared crust and decorate with remaining chocolate; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, run a knife around edge of pan and release outer ring of spring form. Cut into 12 pieces and serve.

This was our dessert on Memorial Day and it was fabulous! It may look a little skimpy, but when it is just a mouthful of cream and chocolate...a little goes a long way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

{light} strawberry crepes...

3/4 cups flour
2 tsp sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fat-free skim milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted

sliced strawberries
fat free cool whip

To make crepes, whisk together flour and sugar. Slowly whisk eggs, butter and milk into flour mixture until smooth. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Off heat, coat skillet with cooking spray and then pour 2 tablespoons batter into skillet, tilting it to coat evenly. Return to heat; cook until batter begins to solidify, about 1 minute, flip with spatula and cook 1 minute more to brown other side. Repeat with remaining batter.
Fill with strawberries & cream.

Crepes are really just a vehicle for whatever filling sounds good at the moment...fruit, pudding, chocolate... even savory things like chicken, turkey & cheese, etc. This particular recipe is great for breakfast or dessert. YUM! Even better that it is a light version of traditional crepe recipes. I couldn't tell a difference in the finished product at all. Fat free cool whip takes a little getting used to, but it really was pretty good. I felt like I was eating somethinig really decadent.

Monday, May 26, 2008

jr. sloppy joe's...

1 lb extra lean ground beef
minced onion
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar (you can add less)
small rolls or hamburger buns

Brown ground beef and onions and drain off excess fat. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low heat about 10 min. Serve on hamburger buns.

I love to serve these on "dollar" rolls (little 1 oz rolls). Many grocery stores make their own version of these in their bakery. If not, potato rolls or hamburger buns work just fine. There is something about eating a mini version of anything that just grabs my kids (I eat less as well...) Serve these up with a little corn on the cob, watermelon, etc. This is a great recipe for a crowd, the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

{easy} whoopie pies...

1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter; room temp
1 egg white
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup marshmallow cream

Heat oven to 425°F. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
In large bowl, beat sugar, butter and egg white with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes or until fluffy. Stir in flour mixture. Stir in milk & vanilla just until blended.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto large, lightly greased baking sheets to make 32 cookies. Bake 5 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched.
Place baking sheets on a rack to cool completely. Spoon about 2 teaspoons marshmallow cream on bottoms of 16 cookies. Top filled cookies with the remaining 16 cookies.

I LOVE whoopie pies. Let me say that again...I LOVE whoopie pies. A dear friend and her mom introduced my family to the beauty that is the whoopie pie when I was a kid. That having been said, this is not that original recipe that I love. This is a lighter, quicker version of the true thing. Steph, if you're reading this...don't worry, I know where my heart a pinch though, this lighter version comes through. And, I promise to share the original recipe when I can hide the damage behind bulky clothing!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

curried broccoli pasta...

1 1/3 cups pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups broccoli flowerets
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Dash Salt

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil. Add curry powder and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add broccoli; stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or till crisp-tender. For sauce, in a small saucepan, stir together the yogurt, chicken broth, flour, mustard, and salt. Stir into broccoli mixture. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Add pasta to broccoli mixture; toss to mix. Heat through. Serve immediately.
You really have to be a fan of curry to appreciate this one. I love curry and think it could have even used a bit more. I will say it is a little different, but there is nothing wrong with least that's what I tell my kids!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

TWD brown sugar-pecan shortbread...

This week the recipe chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home is for Madeleine cookies OR any TWD recipe that has been previously baked. I have to say that I have had my eye on these shortbread cookies from the very beginning so this was an easy choice for me. These are a gourmet, homemade version of the good old, store bought pecan sandies that I have always loved. I really had a hard time limiting my intake of these..SO FABULOUS!! The recipe was very easy to put together, and tasted even better then I imagined they would.

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

Pinch of ground cloves

2 sticks butter; room temp

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup finely ground pecans

Sift together flour, cornstarch, salt & cloves. Beat butter and brown sugar on med. speed for about 3 min, until the mixture is very smooth. Reduce speed and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Add the pecans and give the mixer a couple of turns, just to get the nuts into the dough.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the soft dough to a gallon-size ziploc bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn't cause creases. When you get the right size thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 min. The shortbread should be very pale-they shouldn't take on a lot of color. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Friday, May 16, 2008

oven "fried" chicken...

3/4 cup buttermilk
5-6 drops tabasco
1 1/2 crushed cornflakes
6 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 lbs chicken parts
4 tsp canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large, shallow bowl, combine the buttermilk and tabasco. In another shallow dish (or large ziploc bag) combine cornflakes, flour, salt & pepper. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in cornflake mixture, coating completely. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and drizzle each piece with a little oil. Bale 30 min; turn over and bake until cooked through, approx. 10-15 min more.

This may sound fattening, but it is actually VERY light; especially if you remove the skin from the chicken. Buttermilk, despite the name, has less fat than lowfat milk & tenderizes the chicken nicely and adds a great, tangy flavor. And, the addition of the hot sauce does not make this hot or spicey at all. It really is just for flavor (trust me on this) If you want it hot & spicey just add the tabasco liberally/carefully! This would also be great with dried herbs added to the cornflake mixture for added flavor.
This will definitely be a new favorite for me (& the fam) this summer!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

TWD florida pie...

WOW! I think I might have died and gone to heaven...hee hee! I love, love, love citrus desserts and was all too pleased when I saw that this weeks recipe was a version of key lime pie that I had never tried before...and will definitely try again.

After last weeks calorie laden torte, I decided to lighten this one up a little. I used a reduced-fat (store bought) graham cracker crust, fat-free sweetened condensed milk, and cut the coconut cream layer down by half. I did, however serve it with fresh sweetened whipped cream instead of the meringue topping...FABULOUS!!

I considered leaving out the coconut cream layer, but am sooooo glad I left it in because it really was scrumptious.

My ONLY qualm with this was that when frozen (as recipe suggests), the key lime filling is terrific, but the coconut cream layer becomes a little chewy and loses it's delicious flavor a little. But, all around this one is a keeper!

Thanks Dianne for a wonderful recipe choice!

florida pie

1 9-inch graham cracker crust, fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

4 large eggs, separated

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)

1/4 cup of sugar

Getting Ready:Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.To Finish the Pie with Meringue:Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

crazy pizza...

crazy pizza

8 oz extra lean ground beef or turkey
1 3/4 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (if desired)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (if desired)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup sliced ripe olives (if desired)
1 can Pillsbury refrigerated buttermilk biscuits - 7.5 oz can
2/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet brown meat. Add mushrooms, green pepper, onion and olives. Mix well to combine. Stir in pizza sauce. Remove skillet from heat. Separate biscuits and cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Gently stir biscuit pieces into meat mixture. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top. Continue baking until cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Place baking dish on a wire rack and let set 5 minutes.
Ok, easy peasy! This was such an easy dish to throw together. Not only that, but it really does taste surprisingly good. I am not the biggest fan of biscuits in a can...and I really don't love casseroles (I even hate the word), but I really loved this, so did the fam. You could easily double this, just bake in a 9x13 if doing that. And the green peppers, mushrooms & olives are only suggestions, you could use any pizza toppings you like. I actually only used olives. Not too many pics on this one...I was STARVING and just wanted to get going on the making & the eating!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

southwest burritos...

baked southwest brown rice

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
dried onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 can black beans; drained & rinsed

Combine all ingredients in baking dish, stirring well to evenly distribute seasonings. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees 1-1 1/2 hours, until water is absorbed & rice is tender. Fluff with a fork.

Put about 1/2 cup baked rice, grated cheddar cheese and salsa in a flour tortilla and wrap up like a package (tucking ends of tortilla in). Brown on all sides over med heat until edges are crispy. Serve with sour cream & salsa.
This is a great meatless meal. Besides the fact that it is good for you, it tastes excellent and is very filling. Everyone at my house liked these. The brown rice really takes on the flavor of the chili powder & cumin without making it too spicy. Of course, you could make it spicier by adding jalapenos or chili's to the rice.

Monday, May 5, 2008

TWD peanut butter torte...

My cute new cake pedestal was waiting for a treat...

My plate and fork were waiting for a treat...

This recipe was waiting for some attention...

These presents were waiting to be opened, and this torte was waiting to be eaten...

...the presents had to wait a while...

This weeks recipe, chosen by Elizabeth from Ugg Smell Food, could not have come at a better time! It was my husband's Birthday last week and I don't know anyone who loves chocolate and peanut butter more than him...yay!

It was a very easy recipe to put together. I used milk chocolate for the ganache on the top and it was extremely tasty... and anything with an oreo crust is an automatic winner for me!

Peanut Butter Torte
1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)
24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
2 ½ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.
Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.
Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.
To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.
Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.
Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.
When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.