Overnight Fruit Salad

November 16, 2008

I first saw a recipe in my mom’s Taste of Home magazine when I was in High School, and it soon became my mom’s favorite. I would go home during college breaks and made this just for my mom.
Overnight Fruit Salad


Ingredients

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups green grapes
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
2 medium firm bananas. sliced
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions
In a double boiler over medium heat, cook and stir eggs, sugar and vinegar until mixture is thickened and reaches 160 degrees F.
Remove from the heat; stir in butter. Cool.
In a large serving bowl, combine grapes, marshmallows, pineapple, oranges and bananas; add cooled dressing and stir to coat.
Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, fold in whipped cream and pecans.


Lime Meltaways

November 16, 2008

As the weather is turning seriously cold, nothing warms up our home more than baking!

Ingredients

Makes about 4-6 dozen ~ depending on the thickness

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; beat until fluffy.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.
  3. Between two 8-by-12-inch pieces of parchment paper, roll dough into two 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Chill at least 1 hour.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Remove parchment from logs; slice dough into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks

Chocolate Chip Cookie Tart

November 15, 2008

While I love cooking & baking, I am very picky about the type of sweets that I eat. I love chocolate chip cookies for example, but I also like them to be chewy in the inside, crispy in the outside, not too sweet, and I prefer them to be warm. I have had some experiences in the past with chocolate chip cooking dough recipes, but I decided to try this Martha Stewart’s adaptation, in the form of a tart. We were invited to a friend’s house for dinner, there were three other couples and three kids… so I thought this would be a perfect dessert to take! The best part of it was that I can put this in the oven while we’re enjoying dinner, and then when we’re done with our meals, we have a perfect dessert waiting for us! Right out of the oven!

This recipe actually fits perfectly to what I would call an ideal chocolate chip cookie! Red wanted to make sure that he had a piece to take home since everyone else loved it!


Ingredients

Makes one 9-inch tart or pie plus about 1 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips, (about 12 ounces)
Vegetable-oil cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch pie tin with vegetable-oil cooking spray; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Press 3 cups of this dough into prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden and center is almost set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes, and remove from pan. Bake remaining dough as cookies at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Spinach-Cheese Swirls

November 9, 2008

Ingredients
1/2 of a 17.3 ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese OR Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 green onion, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 pkg. (about 10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

Directions

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it’s easy to handle. Heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork. Stir the Muenster cheese, Parmesan cheese, onion and garlic powder in a medium bowl.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Brush the pastry sheet with the egg mixture. Top with the cheese mixture and spinach. Starting at the short side closest to you, roll up like a jelly roll. Cut into 20 (1/2-inch) slices. Place the slices cut-side down on the baking sheets. Brush with the egg mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the swirls are golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tip: Make sure to remove as much liquid as you can from the spinach before adding it to the pastry. If it’s too wet, it may make the pastry soggy.


Southern Comfort Punch

November 9, 2008
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living.

Ingredients

Serves 12 to 20

  • 6 lemons
  • 4 navel oranges
  • 2 six-ounce frozen lemonade, concentrate
  • 1 six-ounce frozen orange juice, concentrate
  • 2 liters lemon-lime soda
  • 1 liter Southern Comfort

Directions

  1. Line two baking sheets with plastic wrap, and set aside. Slice lemons into rounds as thin as possible. Arrange lemon slices in layers on one prepared baking sheet. Repeat with oranges; layer on second baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until fruit slices are frozen.
  2. Just before serving, open the cans of frozen lemonade and orange juice, and place the frozen concentrates, whole, in a large punch bowl. Add the soda, Southern Comfort, and several handfuls of ice. Remove frozen fruit slices from freezer, and arrange over the top of punch. Serve immediately.


Chicken Pot Pie

November 9, 2008

Courtesy of Ina Garten from “Barefoot Contessa”

Ingredients

  • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

For the pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.


Moroccan Chicken with Squash and Dried Plums

November 9, 2008

Courtesy of Amy Finley from “The Gourmet Next Door” (Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zest grated and juiced (about 2 to 3 tablespoons juice) plus 2 lemons, quartered, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs, (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Pinch saffron strands
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
  • 3 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
  • 3 medium plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup dried pitted prunes (about 10)
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted
  • Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Special Equipment: coffee grinder, Dutch oven

Serving Suggestion: flatbread

In a medium glass bowl, combine the spice mixture, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and harissa. Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. Warm the chicken broth and add the saffron strands, then allow to steep at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade. In a Dutch oven over high heat, brown the chicken thighs on both sides in 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set chicken aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, and saute the onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Place the chicken thighs on top of the onions and add any accumulated juices from the plate. Arrange the zucchini and yellow squash and tomato quarters on top of the chicken and tuck in the prunes and olives. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken broth and saffron. Cover and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Let cook undisturbed 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is falling off the bone. Remove from the oven and transfer the contents of the Dutch oven to a large serving dish.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the almonds and fry until the skins begin to crackle, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the almonds and hot oil over the vegetables and chicken on the serving dish. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve, spooning over the sauce in the dish and garnishing each plate with the lemon quarters.

Cook’s Note: If you’re using a tagine: An unseasoned ceramic tagine may crack in the oven. Before using the tagine for the first time, submerge and soak it overnight in cool water. Pat dry and rub the inside with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then place in 350 degree F oven for 1 hour. Allow to cool, then proceed with the recipe.

Spice Mixture:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Combine the spices in a coffee grinder and grind to a medium-fine powder. Add the kosher salt and pepper. Store in an air-tight container, if not using immediately.

Yield: 2 to 3 tablespoons