Saturday, February 21, 2009

homemade buttermilk ranch dressing...

8 oz cream cheese; room temp (I used 1/3 less fat)
1 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used reduced fat)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp Accent
1/2 -1 tsp black pepper
parsley (dried or fresh)

Mix all ingredients in blender until well combined. Refrigerate. This will be closer in consistency to dip, but can be thinned out with more buttermilk, if desired.

My kids (and myself) LOVE ranch dressing. They will eat just about anything dipped in ranch...even pizza!?! This is a big treat to have the real, homemade stuff. I got this recipe from my sister in law years ago & it has been a favorite ever since. Thanks Angie!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

craisin & sugared pecan salad...

1 large head romaine lettuce; rinsed & chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup craisins (I like the cherry flavored)
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
6 oz whole pecans
1/3 cup sugar

In a med skillet heat pecans & sugar over medium heat, stirring to coat, until sugar has melted & adhered to pecans. Remove from heat, cool, chop. Combine all ingredients & toss.


1/4 cup sugar
scant 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (measure out 1/2 cup & take out 1-2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 of a small red onion; diced (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 cup canola oil

Put everything except oil in the blender & pulse to combine & chop onion. Add oil and blend until well mixed & thick.
Pour over salad right before serving.

I got this recipe several years ago from my mother in law & it quickly became a favorite. It is soooo tasty. I could eat the craisins & sugared pecans by themselves, but add them to the rest of the ingredients & it makes one heavenly salad!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

sugar cookie pops...


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

cream cheese sheet cake...

1 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups cake flour

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, cheese, and sugar for 3 minutes on high speed. Add vanilla then one egg at a time mixing well after each egg. Add flour and mix well. Pour batter into a greased 13 x 18 inch pan. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Frost immediately with glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium sauce pan combine sugar and milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 3 minutes. Do not stir! After three minutes add chocolate and butter and stir until blended. Pour and spread over cake. Place in freezer for 45 minutes.

We went to a neighborhood dinner last weekend and this was my dessert offering. I had a little taste before we left and seriously considered hiding, and keeping these for myself & taking a box of Twinkies instead...but that wouldn't be very nice of me (my hips wouldn't have appreciated that, either)
This is my new, favorite cake. Really and truly. It tastes like pound cake (which has never offended me), with a touch of chocolate on the top (chocolate doesn't offend me, either.) I actually preferred them cold, straight out of the fridge, but it really didn't matter because they were fabulous no matter what.
The recipe comes from Taste of Home magazine & Big Red Kitchen.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

shortbread hearts...

1 1/4 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter
1-2 Tbsp red sugar sprinkles

Put flour and sugar in bowl of mixer and combine. Add butter and mix until the dough resembles fine crumbs. Add the sprinkles and mix just until dough starts to come together (do not over mix). Remove dough to a lightly floured surface & knead a few times until the dough forms a ball. Pat out roll out to 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut with heart shaped cookie cutter & place on a lined or greased baking sheet (dust with extra sprinkles if desired). Bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 min for soft cookies, 12-14 for crisp cookies. Cool completely.

This recipe could not be easier. With only a few ingredients, and no time needed for the dough to chill, it goes fast. I would suggest doubling the recipe...I mean if you're going to make cookies, you might as well get a decent amount out of your efforts. Right? Seriously, a single batch doesn't make that many. These are different from sugar cookies, so don't get frustrated if the dough crumbles. Just knead it a little more & it will be fine.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

baked potato rounds...

2 large russet potatoes
4-5 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
cheddar & monterey jack cheese; shredded
1 green onion; chopped
sour cream
olive oil
salt & pepper

Slice potatoes in 1/4 in thick rounds. Place on a baking sheet & brush each side lightly with olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min. Turn and continue baking for another 10-15 min. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven just until cheese is melted. Finish off with bacon, onions & sour cream.

Really, really, really good. This is a great way to enjoy eating a loaded baked potato...on a much smaller scale. They were quick to throw together, which is always a bonus. If you have a few stray potatoes hanging around this is a great way to use them up. If you don't have any hanging around...go buy some and make these!!
This was another fabulous recipe from Amber's Kitchen.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

roasted vegetable & ricotta pizza...

1 pound store-bought pizza dough, fresh, or thawed if frozen
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
6 cups roasted vegetables
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves, (optional)
salt and pepper

Roasted Vegetables
1 pound (about 1 small) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1½ inch pieces
1 pound red new potatoes, (4-5), well scrubbed and quartered
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
1 pound carrots (3-4 medium) halved lengthwise, if thick, and cut into 1½ inch lengths
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper

To roast vegetables, cut in to similar size (1 1/2 inch) cubes. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt & pepper. Roast at 450 degrees 40-45 min, tossing half way through, until golden brown and crisp on the outside.
For pizza:
Preheat oven to 475°. Brush a large baking sheet with oil, or line with parchment paper, if desired, for easy cleanup.
On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch dough into a 12-by-16-inch oval (or as large as will fit on baking sheet); transfer to sheet.
Sprinkle dough with half the mozzarella. Scatter vegetables on top, and dollop with ricotta; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and, if using, rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve.

I have been intrigued by this recipe from Everyday Food for quite some time and decided this weekend to give it a try. It was delicious!! First of all, any vegetable is better when roasted. Then add bread & cheese to the mix and you have yourself a winning combination. If you have leftover roasted vegetables you can reheat them with a little chicken broth, then puree for a yummy soup.