Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Banana Split Ice-Cream Cake

I can always tell how good a dessert is by how long it takes to disappear! I made this for our FHE dessert on Monday and its about 2/3 gone (a little scary actually). :) This one is a winner and really does taste like a banana split. Plan ahead - this one takes awhile to prepare.

-Family Fun

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
4-5 medium bananas, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
1 1/2 quarts strawberry ice cream, softened (Do not use low fat)
1 cup walnuts (I prefer pecans)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) container nondairy whipped topping

In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture, then press the remainder into the bottom of a 9x13" pan.

Place the banans in a single layer over the crust. spread the softened ice cream on top and smooth. Sprinkle the nuts on the ice cream, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

In a large saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and the 1/4 cup butter and stir until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and evaporated milk. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until slightly thickened and smooth, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool the mixture, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the mixture over the ice cream and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

Spread the whipped topping over the chocolate layer and sprinkle with the reserved crumbs. Freeze for at least 3 1/2 hours. Remove the dish from the freezer 10 to 20 minutes before slicing. Serves 18.

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

I've always loved sweet potatoes, just not the ones covered with marshmallows and sugar. :) This is a new spin that Brandon and I really enjoyed!

-Taste of Home

3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette, divided*
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp. honey
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (I used 1 and it was plenty spicy!)

Place sweet potatoes in two greased 15"x10"x1" baking pans. Drizzle with 1/2 cup vinaigrette and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until tender, stirring once. Cool slightly; transfer to large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining vinaigrette with the cilantro, honey and chipotle peppers. Pour over potatoes and gently stir to coat.

*For homemade vinaigrette: (from
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 clove crushed garlic
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 pinch salt
ground black pepper to taste

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rockin' S'more Bars

Another yummy one from Family Fun! Marshmallow Fluff isn't the easiest thing to work with, but for this I'd say it's worth it!

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 (1.55-ounce) chocolate bars
1 (7-ounce) jar of marshmallow creme

Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the crushed graham crackers, flour, salt, and baking powder and beat until well mixed, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Spoon half the dough into the pan and spread evenly with your fingertips. Break the chocolate into pieces and arrange over the dough. Spread a layer of marshmallow creme over the chocolate. Flatten the remaining dough into pancakes and lay them over the marshmallow.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let the bars cool before serving.

CPK's Spinach Artichoke Dip

All I can say is YUM! I've made many versions of spinach artichoke dip, but this one really takes the cake. It does take a few ingredients, and some time to make, but It's Worth It! Suzie made this to go along with the cookies for our holiday cookie exchange, and I liked it so much I just had to have it again! I made it for the Tostitos National Championship game and Brandon and I polished off a good portion of it all by ourselves. It was even good reheated the next day. :)

-Suzie Irwin

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup diced white or yellow onion
1 ½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup flour
1 ½ cup chicken stock
1 ½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dehydrated chicken stock base or crumbled bullion cubes
1 ½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ cup sour cream
12 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, wrung out by hand and coarsely chopped
6 ounces canned artichoke bottoms, drained and cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 cup finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese
¾ teaspoon Tabasco Sauce (I'd use a little less next time)
Blue and white corn tortilla chips

In a large saucepan, warm olive oil and butter together over medium heat. When butter has melted, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently and stopping before the onion and garlic brown.

Sprinkle the flour and continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns a golden blonde color, 10 to 15 minutes. Then, whisking continuously, slowly pour in the stock until it is smoothly incorporated. When the mixture begins to simmer, stir in the cream. Let it return to the simmer. Add the Parmesan, chicken base or cubes, lemon juice and sugar and stir until thoroughly blended.

Add the sour cream, spinach, artichoke bottoms, Monterey Jack cheese and Tabasco sauce and stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the cheese in melted. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately, accompanied by blue and white corn tortilla chips

Monday, January 10, 2011

Moist & Tender Turkey Breast

Delicious & easy! This would be a perfect turkey for Thanksgiving if you have a small family. :) We'll be making this one again for sure!

-Taste of Home

1 bone-in turkey breast (6-7 lbs)
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Place turkey in a 6-qt. slow cooker. Place rosemary and garlic around turkey. Combine the brown sugar, pepper and salt; sprinkle over turkey.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until turkey is tender.

Onion & Cheddar Biscuits

Yum! Brandon and I really enjoyed these, but the kids didn't really care for them. I'm guessing the balsamic onions were a little strong for them. They were a perfect accompaniment to the soup we had for dinner. These do take a little while to prepare, so double the recipe and put some in the freezer for later!

-Taste of Home

Yield: 6 biscuits

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
4 Tbsp. cold butter, divided
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped (I didn't included these)
1/4 cup buttermilk

In a small skillet, saute sweet onion in 1 Tbsp. butter until tender. Add vinegar; cook and stir until liquid is evaporated. Cool.

In a small bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and seasonings. Cut in remaining butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the onion mixture, cheese and green onions. Stir in buttermilk just until moistened.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 6-8 times. Pat or roll out to 1/2" thickness; cut with a floured 2-1/2" biscuit cutter. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Southern Fried Chicken Strips

I've never liked making traditional fried chicken  - trying to ensure big pieces of chicken are fried evenly and cooked thoroughly is not a fun process for me. I guess I should have been born in the South for that... Anyhow, chicken tenders are a little more manageable and my kids really love this version. If you have time, soaking the chicken in the buttermilk for a couple hours makes them even better! Double dipping adds an extra thick coating that we enjoy.

-Taste of Home

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
2 lbs chicken tenders (Remove any tendons with kitchen shears)
Oil for deep fat frying
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and buttermilk. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, pepper, salt and paprika. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then flour mixture (repeat for extra coating).

In an electric skillet, heat oil to 375°. Fry chicken, a few pieces at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until no longer pink. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

Mexicali Chicken

My friend Kacee is a master at making delicious meals in the crockpot! Here's one of her recipes- which our family loves.

-Kacee Carlson

4 chicken breasts (frozen)
2 c salsa (I used Herdez Medium)
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 t. salt
½ t. oregano
¼ t. minced onion
¼ t. minced garlic
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 T. lemon or lime juice (if desired)
2 c. shredded cheese (any variety)

Mix all other ingredients together, except cheese, and pour over chicken breasts. Cook in a crock pot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours (My crockpot runs hot, so I reduce these times to about 7 hours on low and 3 to 3 1/2 on high). Just before serving, break chicken breasts into large chunks – about three per chicken breast. Stir in the cheese until melted. Serve over rice.