Friday, July 30, 2010

Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Here's another of my favorites that I haven't made in a long time. According to my family, we need to have them more often! :) I believe this another winner that my mom got from Taste of Home many years ago.

3/4 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 cup chopped nuts
4 cups miniature marshmallows

1 1/3 cups milk chocolate chips (I like semi-sweet)
3 Tbsp. margarine or butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups crisp rice cereal

Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa; add to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts. Spread in greased jelly roll pan (or 9"x13"). Bake at 350 for 15 to 18 minutes (20 to 25 for a 9"x13" pan). Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over cake; return to oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Spread the melted marshmallows evenly over cake. Cool.

For topping, combine chips, margarine and peanut butter in small pan. Cook over low heat until melted. Stir in cereal. Spread over bars. Chill.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Penne Rustica

Penne Rustica is one of my favorite dishes at Macaroni Grill. I have to say that this recipe comes pretty close to matching those flavors. Now I need a good recipe for their bread!

-Pimp My Dinner, with some slight modifications

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled (marinate in olive oil and garlic salt overnight, then grill on barbecue for best flavor)
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3 slices bacon
1 tsp bacon drippings
1 tsp chopped garlic (2 cloves)
2 Tbs. apple juice + 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar +enough chicken broth to equal ½ cup
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups heavy cream
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1/2 box penne pasta
1/3 cup roasted red peppers (we prefer sun dried tomatoes)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 paprika

Cook bacon, remove from pan and set aside. Reserve 1 tsp. drippings, add garlic and sauté. Add apple juice mixture, mustard, salt, rosemary, and heavy cream. Cook over low heat until sauce has reduced by ½ (about the time it takes to bring water to boil and cook the pasta).

Cook pasta to al dente-approximately 9 minutes. Slice chicken into medium-bite size pieces. Combine sauce, reserved bacon, cooked pasta, diced chicken, and bell peppers (or sun dried tomatoes) and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and paprika. Pour into 9x9 baking dish and bake at 450 for 10 minutes.

Pudding Pops/ Fudge Cicles

While we were in Arizona this summer, my mom made these for the kids. How did I forget about these? They were always one of my favorite summertime treats. We've tried chocolate, white chocolate and banana cream, and our favorite is the banana cream.

-Aunt Deborah

1 small package instant chocolate pudding (any flavor)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3 cups milk (can use powdered)
Popcicle sticks

Mix all ingredients til smooth. Pour into fifteen 3-oz Dixie cups. (Put the cups in a muffin tin for easy transportation and stabilization in the freezer.) Freeze for 30-45 minutes until partially frozen and then insert sticks. About 100 calories for each fudge cicle.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Marinated Pork Chops

We thought these were great - tender and flavorful! They grill up quickly and made an easy summer meal with baked potatoes (crock pot or microwaved) and watermelon.

-Taste of Home

1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup lime juice
4 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 garlic clove, minced
6 boneless pork loin chops (4 oz. each)  * look for ones with more brown meat - they will be more tender and flavorful

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first eight ingredients; add the pork chops. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Drain and discard marinade. Grill pork chops, covered, over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mint Chocolate Brownies

I love mint chocolate; pair that with my other love - brownies - and you have the perfect dessert!

Melt together 2/3 cup butter with 3 squares baking chocolate.

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. mint extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Add chocolate mixture to above mixture and mix well. Pour in greased 9x13 pan and bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes.

Cool completely, then make icing and spread on top.

4 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. mint extract
green food coloring
2 cups powdered sugar

Put frosted brownies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or freezer for 5 minutes, then melt:
1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chocolate chips

Carefully spread on top of icing before chocolate sets.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kettle Corn

While I was growing up, popcorn was a regular Sunday-evening treat and I have one brother who loves it so much he could probably live on popcorn alone. I do enjoy a bowl of buttered popcorn now and then, but I have to say that I would prefer kettle corn 9 times out of 10. I love sweet and salty combinations! Here's an easy way to make it at home without having to wait for the next fair.

2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 cup popcorn
3 Tbsp. sugar
Salt, to taste

Pour oil in popcorn popper (we have a StirCrazy). Quickly add popcorn and sugar and cover. Wait until all popcorn has popped and immediately pour popcorn into a large bowl; salt as desired. Be careful because the sugar will still be sticky and is extremely hot.
You could also make this on the stovetop using a large pan with a lid, but make sure you shake it vigorously back and forth over the heat to prevent the sugar from sticking to the bottom.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's another winner from my mom!

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup coconut

Use 1 cup white chocolate chips and 1 cup dried cranberries in place of chocolate chips, nuts and coconut.

Heat oven to 350. In large bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in chocolate chips, nuts, and coconut.

Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.

Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

3 1/2 dozen cookies