Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grasshopper Cake

I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time, but couldn't ever find the non-alcoholic creme de menthe I needed. I was in super Target yesterday, looking for some ideas for a St. Patrick's day dessert, and spotted the creme de menthe among the ice cream toppings. It must be my month for finding my minty treasures! This cake was very yummy and the mint is not overpowering., modified

1 chocolate fudge cake mix (Betty Crocker Super Moist)
Water, oil & eggs needed for cake mix
3 Tablespoons creme de menthe (non-alcoholic)
1 jar hot fudge sauce (I used Smuckers)
1 8oz tub Cool Whip, thawed
2-3 Tablespoons creme de menthe
green food coloring

Prepare cake mix as directed, except substitute 3 tablespoons Creme de Menthe flavoring for 3 tablespoons water.

Pour into 13x9 inch pan and bake according to package directions.

Remove from oven and while HOT, poke holes in cake every 1/2" using the end of a wooden spoon. Spread chocolate sauce over the top and let cool. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, mix whipped topping with 2 tablespoons of creme de menthe and 5-6 drops of food coloring. Spread on cake. Keep refrigerated.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mint Chip Cookies

My mom is a wonderful cook, and is especially great at baking cookies. Out of all the many delicious cookies she makes, these are one of my all-time favorites. I believe this recipe originally came off a package of Nestle Mint Chocolate Chips. Sadly, these chocolate chips were discontinued several years ago, and the Hershey's version is only available in select locations. I was overjoyed when I found some mint chips when searching for something else on this website. I ordered several bags, and although the chocolate is not as dark as I remember, I was very pleased with the results. Yea for the internet!

-Mom Pulsipher

1 10-oz. package mint chocolate chips, divided (I used a 12-oz. pkg.)
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans)

Put half (1 cup) mint chips into microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 minute. Add butter. Microwave until melted (about 30 seconds). Stir until smooth. Stir in sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in remaining mint chips and nuts. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Makes approximately 3 dozen.

*The cookies should be slightly underbaked for a chewy texture – I baked mine for 10 minutes on a Silpat.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

Thanks for this recipe Anna! I've never had kale before and I thought the flavor might be a little overpowering, but it is so yummy!

-Anna Hampton

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 to 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
¼ of a bunch of kale, ribs removed and chopped

Saute Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.

In the same pan, saute bacon, onions and garlic for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft. Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.

Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour. Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in the sausage. Add kale just before serving (I cooked it until it softened). Delicious!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Salmon Fillets over Couscous

Brandon is not much of a fish or seafood fan, so I usually make this for myself for lunch when I'm tired of pb&j or leftovers. It's light, healthy, and delicious!

-Bobby Deen

Olive oil
Salmon (4 oz per person)
House Seasoning (Salt, Pepper, Garic Powder)

Water or chicken stock
Couscous (I like the Far East brand, roasted garlic & olive oil flavor)
Diced tomatoes
Crumbled feta cheese
Green onions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add a drizzle of olive oil to glass pan and place the salmon. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime (or lemon) over the top of the salmon and sprinkle with the House Seasoning. Top with pads of butter (approx 1 teaspoon per fillet). Wrap in the foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve over a bed of couscous.

For couscous: Combine water or chicken stock, salt and butter in a saucepan, over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Add diced tomatoes, crumbled feta, and green onions. Serve hot or cold.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pecan Sandies

Pecans remind me of my grandparents in southern Arizona; they have pecan trees and always made sure we had some for baking. For me, shelling pecans for my mom's tarts is synonomous with the holidays, and a fresh-shelled pecan always brings back lots of memories.
I love these cookies, but unfortunately they're not my children's favorite. Every once in awhile I'll make them just for me and put lots in the freezer for later!

-Mom Pulsipher

1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chopped pecans
1 6-oz. package English toffee bits (I use a whole 8 oz. pkg)
Additional sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add oil, eggs and extract; mix well. Combine flours, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans and toffee bits. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

*The dough is slightly dry; after you flatten with a fork, just smooth the broken edges with your fingers. I use the medium-sized Pampered Chef cookie scoop, and mine take 14 minutes on a Silpat. Makes about 5 1/2 - 6 dozen.