Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Roasted Raspberry & Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
Fischer & Wieser Roasted Raspberry & Chipotle Sauce (check your Costco)

Pour sauce (approximately 1 cup) over cream cheese and serve with Wheat Thins.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cranberry Spritzer

-Trooly Harker

1 can (11.5 oz) frozen cranberry juice, thawed
1 (2 liter) bottle 7-up, chilled

Hot Chocolate Mix - Snowman Soup

Paige's class made this hot chocolate as part of their measuring unit. I don't have the recipe they used, but I think it was probably something similar to this.

Hot Chocolate Mix
-Aunt Pam

8 qt. box non-fat dry milk (8 cups)
1 lb. can Nestle's Quick (3 1/2 cups)
6 oz. jar non-dairy creamer
1 lb. box powdered sugar (3 3/4 cups)
pinch of salt

Mix together and store in sealed container. To serve, put 1/3 cup mix in 1 cup hot water.

Snowman Soup
When it's so cold that
you holler and whoop,
It's time to bring out
the Snowman Soup!

Pour the packet in a mug
Add the snowballs too.
And throw in the kisses
from the snowman to you.

Now add some hot water
And use the cane to stir it.
Sip slowly and soon you'll
feel the warm winter spirit!

(Include a candy cane, mini marshmallows and Hershey kisses)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Skillet Lemon Chicken with Capers

-RecipeZaar, slightly modified

4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons garlic, minced (2 cloves was plenty)
3/4 cup chicken stock (Plus more)
1 large lemon
2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (I didn't have any on hand - it was great without it)

Place each chicken breast between two sheets of wax paper. (I just used a large Ziploc bag)With a mallet, flatten each to about 1/4 inch thick.

In one pie plate, beat eggs slightly. In another pie plate, mix 1/2 cup flour with salt.

Coat chicken with flour mixture, then dip in egg, and then again in flour mixture. Put battered chicken on a plate.

In nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over med high heat until hot. Stir in 1 Tbsp butter until melted.

Add chicken. Cook 5 min to brown, then reduce heat to med. Turn chicken and cook about 4-5min more until juice runs clear when pierced.

Transfer chicken to a warm dish. (Oven at 200 degrees)

Lower heat if needed to maintain medium-low to medium heat so as not to scorch the garlic, then add garlic to the drippings in the skillet.

In a cup, mix stock, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of flour until smooth.

Stir into mixture in skillet. Scrape skillet to incorporate any browned bits from the chicken.

Heat to a boil, boil 1 minute. Stir in capers and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, simmer until thickened.

Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon slices. I served the chicken with mashed potatoes.

Note: Occasionally, this has turned out a little more "tangy" than I would like with too much lemon. If this happens, just dilute with a little extra chicken stock or broth mixed with cornstarch or flour to keep thicker consistency. This didn't make much sauce, so I did add more broth mixed with cornstarch. Brandon thought it was a little too lemony, so I'll probably cut back on the lemon juice next time.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Apricot Dipping Sauce

-Family Fun, June 2008

3/4 cup apricot preserves
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar (I tried both and prefer plain white vinegar)

Combine the preserves, mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar in a small bowl. Serve with chicken tenders.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Honey Butter

-Anna Hampton

½ pound Unsalted Butter
¼ c. honey
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. vanilla extract

Place softened butter in an electric mixer and whip for a minute. Add remaining ingredients and whip until combined.

Boursin Cheese Potatoes

This recipe is certainly not fat-free or low-cal, but it's a big step up from the cream of chicken/sour cream varieties and has become our favorite potato recipe for holidays and special occasions.

-Annie Earl

2 c. whipping cream
5 oz. Boursin cheese (found with Deli cheeses) I used Boursin with Fine Herbs
3 lb. large, red potatoes, thinly sliced
Bunch of parsley, chopped
Salt & Pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400; butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Toss potatoes with parsley, reserving a bit of parsley to sprinkle on top. in a pan over the stove, melt Boursin cheese in whipping cream. Spread half of potatoes in baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Pour half of cheese and cream mix over potatoes. Repeat with the second half of potatoes and cheese mix. Top with Cheddar cheese and sprinkle remaining parsley on top. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook another 30 minutes.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Candy Cane Popcorn

We were given this yummy popcorn as a Christmas gift from some friends in 2007. This is my attempt at recreating it. Try to find candy canes that only have one red stripe - canes with too much red make the popcorn look pink. ;)

2 bags popped microwave popcorn- it gives it the sweet/salty taste (Pop Secret Homestyle)
or pop 3/4 cup popcorn kernals and add a sprinkling of salt
12 oz. Almond Bark (use 3 bags of popcorn for 16 oz pkg)
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 cup finely crushed candy canes or peppermint pieces

Pop popcorn and place in a large roasting pan or a large baking sheet- removing unpopped kernels.

Melt almond bark according to package directions. Stir in peppermint extract. Working quickly, pour over popcorn and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Stir until evenly coated. Cool and store in airtight container.

White Chocolate Covered Raspberry Creams

1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/3 cup softened unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 -4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Place preserves in a small saucepan. Heat on low until mixture is reduced by half. Pour into small sieve to remove seeds. Cool completely.

Mix butter, corn syrup, cooled raspberry, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add powdered sugar and mix until powdered sugar is incorporated. Mixture should be stiff enough that it can be kneaded. If not, add more powdered sugar. Remove from bowl and knead with hands until smooth. Cover and chill.

Shape into small balls (approximately 1 Tbsp). Place on waxed paper and chill thoroughly.

Dip in melted white candy wafers or CandyQuick and refrigerate.

Chocolate Truffles

-Carolyn Wright

12 oz. dark sweet or semi-sweet chocolate pieces (Approximately 2 cups)
4 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. whipping cream
1 tsp. flavoring
Cocoa (to roll the balls of candy in)

Cut or break up the chocolate into small pieces. If chocolate chips are used, you do not have to do anything to them. Scald the cream and add the butter to melt. Stir the hot cream and butter into the chocolate. Whip vigorously.

Refrigerate overnight and when it is very cold, shape into balls. Will need cocoa on hands to handle the chocolate. It melts very quickly. Put the balls in the refrigerator and dip in chocolate when they are cold. (I don't put cocoa on my hands, just keep your hands cold and roll quickly. Instead of dipping in chocolate, roll in sweetened cocoa - I used Ghirardelli.)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

-RecipeZaar, modified slightly

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt

In a large saucepan combine the chocolate, cream, butter and peanut butter and heat over moderate heat, stirring, until chocolate is completely melted.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 4 hours, or until firm.

Form mixture by heaping teaspoons into balls. Chill on a baking sheet lined with wax paper for 1 hour, or until firm.

Dip in melted chocolate candy melts. Keep in an airtight container, chilled, for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Royal Icing


3 egg whites, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
A few drops of vanilla extract or fresh lemon juice (optional)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, confectioners' sugar, cream of tartar and salt on medium-low speed until blended. Add the vanilla or lemon juice, increase the speed to medium-high, and continue beating until stiff peaks form and the mixture is nearly triple in volume, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature until ready to use, up to 6 hours. Makes 5 to 6 cups.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

BLT Appetizers

Focaccia (recipe here)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 head garlic, roasted (you'll only need 1/2)
8 oz. Sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into thin strips (I used the natural sun-dried tomatoes I found in the clear packages by the nuts and dried fruits at HEB)
3/4 lb. bacon
Romaine lettuce

Bake focaccia, set aside to cool.

To roast garlic: Remove outside papery layers. Slice top off of the head of garlic so each of the cloves are exposed. Place on a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, fold over the foil to tightly seal. Roast at 400 for 30-35 minutes. Cool. Pinch each clove to remove garlic from the skin and set aside.

Place bacon strips on a foiled-lined pan in the oven at 425 for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and then bake for another 6-8 minutes until bacon is crisp. Remove from the pan and cool on paper towels.

Place mayonnaise and 1/2 of the reserved garlic in a food processor and pulse until garlic is finely chopped.

Square off the focaccia loaf by cutting off the rounded edges. Cut in half vertically for ease in assembling sandwiches. Cut each half horizontally using an electric knife.

Spread both sides of bread with mayonnaise-garlic mixture. Place strips of tomato on bottom sides of the bread. Top with bacon, then lettuce and top side of bread.

Secure sandwiches with party style toothpicks, spacing about every 2-3 inches. Slice in between toothpicks using an electric knife, making small, bite-sized sandwiches. Serve at room temperature.

Big Beautiful Muffins

-Anna Hampton (from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

3 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ c. plain lowfat yogurt
2 large eggs
8 T. butter, melted and cooled

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees (350 if using a dark pan). Generously coat a 12 cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the yogurt and eggs together in a medium bowl. Gently fold the yogurt-egg mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula and until just combined. Fold in the melted butter.
Use a large ice-cream scoop or measuring cup to divide batter evenly among the muffin cups.
(Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar)
Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Apricot-Almond Muffins
Add 1 teaspoon almond extract to the yogurt-egg mixture. Fold 1 c. finely diced dried apricots into the finished batter. Sprinkle several sliced almonds over the top of the batter in each muffin cup before baking.

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
Add 1 t. grated lemon zest to the yogurt-egg mixture and fold 1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries that have been tossed in 1 T. flour into the finished batter. If using frozen blueberries, rinse them in a strainer until the water runs clear, then drain on paper towels and pat dry before stirring (unfloured) into the batter.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Creamy Chicken and Green Chili Enchiladas

Photo: Dinners for a Year and Beyond

The medium Goya salsa verde is rather spicy. Brandon and I really liked it, but it was a little too hot for the kids. I think I'll decrease the amount of salsa next time, or make some separate enchiladas for them before adding the salsa to the sauce.

-Dinners for a Year and Beyond

Makes 12 enchiladas - serves 6

4 bone-in chicken breasts or purchased already cooked rotisserie chicken
olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (I used 1 small onion, diced)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup salsa verde (I used the Goya Brand)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
12 6-inch flour tortillas
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 40 - 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is about 170 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan to medium high and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the onions. Saute for 8 - 10 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cumin and saute for an additional minute. Stir in the flour until blended and cook for a minute. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 - 4 minutes or until thickened. Add the salsa verde, sour cream, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season the creamy green chili sauce with salt and pepper.

Add about 1 cup of the creamy green chili sauce to the shredded chicken and stir to combine.To assemble enchiladas get a large baking dish. Dip a tortilla into the creamy green chili sauce and put it on a cutting board. Put a big scoop of the chicken mixture in the center, sprinkle with a little of the cheese, and roll up the tortilla to enclose the filling. Place the enchilada in the baking dish. Continue to fill all of the tortillas and put them in the baking dish. Pour the remaining creamy green chili sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for about 20 - 25 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serve hot with sour cream.

Alfredo Chicken Casserole

Suzie brought this yummy pasta to us after Jackson was born. It's delicious and has become a family favorite! I usually half this recipe or split it when taking dinner to someone.

-Suzie Irwin
Serves 6-8

4-5 Chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 box penne pasta, cooked

In a pot on medium heat:
Melt 4 Tbsp butter
Mix in 4 Tbsp flour

Then add:
1 ¼ cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Stir all together then add:
1/3 cup more chicken broth
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Mix meat and pasta into sauce. Pour all into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle more Parmesan on top and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.


-Suzie Irwin

12 cups ½ inch cubes white bread (1 lb. French loaf)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
6 Tbsp butter
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
1-½ cups chicken broth

In a preheated 400° oven, toast bread cubes 5 to 7 minutes or until barely golden. In a large skillet, melt butter and cook onion and celery over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to a large bowl and add bread cubes, herbs, salt and pepper and chicken broth. Toss well. Transfer to baking dish and bake at 325° for 20 minutes until heated through and crust forms on top.

Green Beans Almondine

-Suzie Irwin

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper

Trim and rinse beans. Place beans in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 Р10 minutes until tender crisp. Drain beans and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan with olive oil. Add garlic and almonds and saut̩ on medium heat until almonds begin to brown. Add beans, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss gently to coat.