Friday, December 16, 2016

Swirly Sugar Cookies

These slice and bake cookies are so much fun!  I wanted to be sure I shared the recipe with you at Christmas-time because the color combinations are endless.  I made them in blue and gold for my daughter's hockey team - but you could do red and white, green and red, etc etc.  It is a basic sugar cookie-type dough and you can use any kind of extract to flavor them.  Our kids love almond flavor - so I used almond extract.  Plus, you can mix them up a day in advance . . .and then wrap them up and let rest in the fridge until the next day before slicing and baking.  Love that!!!!  They were a huge hit . . .I am glad I made a double batch!!

Swirly Sugar Cookies

4 adn 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour (plus extra for rolling out)
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 and 1/2 Cup Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
2/3 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs, Beaten
2 Teaspoons Almond Extract (or extract of your choice!)
Food Coloring as needed

Note:  because these cookies have brown sugar in them, the natural dough color is a little darker than a regular sugar cookie.  This may cause you to need a little extra food dye depending what color you are trying to achieve!

Step 1:  In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Step 2:  In a mixing bowl, add the butter, brown sugar and white sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Add in the eggs and vanilla.  Beat again until all is well incorporated.

Step 3:  Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the sugar/butter mixture until evenly blended.

Step 4:  Gather the dough into a ball and divide into two equal parts.  Place one half in a second bowl.  Add desired food coloring to the first bowl with dough (I used blue) and blend until well incorporated.  I used my hands and wore gloves.  Do the same with the second bowl (I used yellow dye).  Or, you don't have to dye the second one at all!

Step 5:  On a floured surface, roll out one ball of dough to a 1/4 inch thickness into a rectangular form.  Do the same with the second ball of dough and try to keep the size consistent.  I like to roll them out on wax paper (easy clean up and helps with the next step).

Step 6:  Stack the two rolled out doughs one on top of the other.  I had blue on the bottom, yellow on top for my first batch.  Beginning on the long edge of stacked doughs, roll the doughs to make a log so the two colors sprial inside each other.  Wrap the log in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 6-8 hours.  Overnight works well.

Step 7:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease baking sheets.

Step 8:  Unwrap the dough log, place on a clean, lightly floured surface.  Slice the log into 1/8 inch slices and place on the prepared cookie sheets.  

Step 9:  Bake in preheated oven for 5-6 minutes, until set. 


Friday, December 9, 2016

Tuna Hot Dish

Here is my spin on a Midwest favorite:  Tuna Hot Dish.  Egg Noodles, tuna, creamy sauce spiked with Parmesan cheese and peas.  This is a classic comfort food for most!

Tuna Hot Dish
Serves 6-8

1/2 LB Egg Noodles
1 Small Onion, Diced Fine
2 Cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Cup Milk
3 Cans Tuna, Drained
1 LB Frozen Peas, Thawed
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 LB Potato Chips, Crushed

Step 1:  Prepare the egg noodles according the package.  Once cooked, drain.

Step 2:  While the noodles are cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease or butter a 9x13 baking pan or casserole dish.  Set aside.

Step 3:  In a large bowl, mix together the onion, the cream of mushroom soup, milk, tuna, peas, pepper and Parmesan cheese.  Add the cooked and drained noodles to the bowl and stir together.

Step 4:  Pour the contents of the bowl into the prepared pan.  Top with crushed potato chips.  Place in oven (uncovered) and bake for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated through.  Serve hot.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Wild Rice Soup

I love wild rice soup....seriously, it's definitely one of my favorite.  Creamy, delicious and with tender bits of vegetables and chicken.  This recipe is great with leftover chicken or turkey (hint hint...Thanksgiving leftover turkey).

Wild Rice Soup
Serves 4-6

2 Cups Cooked Wild Rice
1/2 Cup Chopped Carrot
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
6 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 Cup Flour
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1-2 Cups Cooked Chicken or Turkey (Diced or Shredded)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt (or Nature's Seasoning)
1 Cup Half and Half
2 Tablespoons Dry Sherry

Step 1:  In a large soup pot, add the butter and onion.  Over medium heat, saute until the butter is melted and veggies begin to soften.  

Step 2:  Add the flour to the pot.  Stir, it may become a big lump - and that's okay.  Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes.  

Step 3:  A little bit a time, add the broth.  Do not add all at once - if you do this, you will get flour lumps!!  Add just a little bit and stir into the flour mixture.  Once incorporated, add a bit more.  Stir until incorporated.  Repeat this until all the broth has been added.

Step 4:  Add in the wild rice and chicken or turkey and seasoning.  Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

Step 5:  Add in the Half and Half and Sherry.  Stir until incorporated and heated through.  

Friday, November 11, 2016

Mediterranean Baked Sole

Oh, I lose control . . .when you sever filet of sole.  If you can name that song . . .you get an A++ for the day!  Of course, if you make this recipe - you will also get an A++ for the day along with a delicious fish dish.  The credit for this dish goes all to my hubby.  He found the recipe here and made it for dinner the other night.  It is magnificent - and pretty simple to make too.

Mediterranean Baked Sole
Serves 4-6

2 Lemons, 1 Sliced and 1 Juiced
½ Cup Olive Oil
½ Cup Butter (Unsalted), Melted
2 Shallots,Thinly Sliced
3 Teaspoons Chopped Garlic
2 Tablespoons Capers
1 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
¾ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1.5 Pounds Sole Fillet (about 10-12 thin fillets)
4-6 Green Onions - Tops Trimmed and Halved Length-Wise
Dill for Garnish

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly oil a large baking sheet or dish and set aside.

Step 2:  In a small bowl, whisk together juice of 1 lemon, olive oil and melted butter with a dash of seasoned salt. Stir in the shallots, chopped garlic and capers.

Step 3:  In a separate small bowl, mix together the teaspoon of seasoned salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder. Spice fish fillets each on both sides.

Step 4:  Place the fish fillets on the baking dish. Cover the fillets with the buttery lemon mixture you prepared in Step 1. 

Step 5:  Arrange the green onion halves and lemon slices on top of the fish. 

Step 6:  Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Do not overcook.

Step 7:  Garnish with dill to serve.  

And in case you are still wondering about that song lyric . . . . . you can listen to the song here.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Seafood Bisque

Happiness in a bowl.  That should be the recipe title for this one.  Decadent, sweet and tender crab and shrimp along with a savory blend of milk, tomato and seasonings . . .excellent soup for a meal.  Serve with a salad and revel in all things delicious.

Seafood Bisque
Serves 4 

3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Green Onions or Scallions, slices thinly
1 Celery Stalk, diced fine
3 Tablespoons Flour
2 and 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt
8 Ounces Crab Meat
6 Ounces Cooked Shrimp 
2 Tablespoons Sherry
Optional Garnishes:  Additional Green Onion, Chives, Parsley or a dollop of Sour Cream.

Step 1:  In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt the butter and add the green onion, celery and tomato paste.  Saute over medium heat until the vegetables are tender and the tomato paste has been incorporated. 

Step 2:  Warm the milk in a separate saucepan or in the microwave.  This will make it easier to blend into the ingredients in the next couple steps. Do not let the milk boil.  You just want it warmed.

Step 3:  Blend the flour into the butter/veggies.  It will kinda lump up into a big ball.  Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes.  

Step 4:  Little by little, add in the warmed milk.  Be sure to stir fully into the flour mixture a little bit at a time.  If you dump all the milk in at once, it will be lumpy.  If you add only a little milk at a time and stir in between - you should have a smooth soup.  

Step 5:  Once the milk and flour are all incorporated, add the black pepper, Old Bay seasoning and sea salt.  Stir until combined.

Step 6:  Add the shrimp, crab and heavy cream to the pot.  Stir until combined and heated through.  Serve immediately.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Edible Eyes

Halloween.  I think there are two types of people out there when it comes to Halloween:  those that love all things creepy and gross . . .and those that don't.  My hubby falls into the second category.  Me, more of the first (as long as it isn't too creepy or super scary).  And of course, what kid doesn't love Halloween?  Our teenager absolutely loves it - and for several years now, she has been making Halloween treats to hand out to all of her friends.  This year I helped her make candy eyeballs.  We'll just say the hubby wasn't so excited about them.  I brought a bowl of them to work and they were a huge hit.  And remember, take two . . .they usually come in pairs ;)

Edible Eyes
Makes Several

Candy Melts or White Chocolate

Special Tools:

Step 1:  In a microwave safe bowl, add some candy melts in the color of your choice and melt on low in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Then, stir well.  If they are not melted yet - go another 30 seconds.  After that, stir again.  Do not over cook - it will burn.  You just want them melted enough to be liquidy.  Optional:  after the candy is melted, place into a baggie or piping bag, close and snip the tip - this helps with the next step.

Step 2:  In the bottom of the round molds, place a candy eye.  Then, top with melted candy. Place the molds in the fridge or freezer for about 10-15 minutes - until the eyeballs are set.

Step 3:  Once the candy is hardened, remove from the molds.  They should pop right out by tipping them upside down and giving the cavity a tiny squeeze.  

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cookies ‘n Cream Cheesecake Mousse

This is pure decadence.  You will be tempted to eat the entire batch.  No doubt on that.  This mousse is made with cream cheese and Oreos and whipped topping and everything that makes life awesome!!!!  Okay, well . . .maybe not everything that makes life awesome.  Just almost everything.  Make this now.  Just do it.

This recipe is an original from here.  This lady is phenomenal.  She has one of my most favorite blogs.  

Cookies 'n Cream Cheesecake Mousse
Serves 6

1 - 8 Ounce Block Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Marshmallow Fluff
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
8 Ounces Frozen Whipped Topping, thawed
15 Oreo Cookies
Maraschino Cherries for Garnish

Step 1:  Take 6 Oreos and set them aside - they will be used for garnish.  With the remaining 9 Oreos, break them up into about four pieces each and set aside.  

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar.  Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

Step 2:  Add in the marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.

Step 3:  Add in the broken-up Oreos and mix until combined.  

Step 4:  Add in the whipped topping and beat until creamy and smooth.

Step 5:  Distribute the mousse between 6 dessert dishes.  Garnish with a whole Oreo and a maraschino cherry.  Serve immediately.

If you wish to make ahead, do not garnish until you serve it.  Cover the mousse tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.