Friday, September 1, 2017

Butter Bars

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  These bars are perfect for your weekend bbqs this holiday weekend.  Buttery crust, crumbly top and ooey, gooey, caramelly middle . . . care for a bite?  Decadent yet simple and easy.  You can customize them however you want with the topping - I used coconut and sprinkles, but you can use nuts or chocolate chips.  I chose some red and white and blue sprinkles in honor of Labor Day.  Enjoy!

Butter Bars
Yield:  One 13x9 Pan

3/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

4 Ounces Cream Cheese
1/3 Cup Butter
1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Coconut (I used unsweetened toasted coconut)
1 (1.7 ounce) Container of Sprinkles

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the crust until well combined and crumbly.  Remove 1 scant cup of the mixture and set aside.  Press the remaining mixture into a 9x13 pan.  Set aside.

Step 2:  In a bowl, mix together filling ingredients.  Beat until well combined.  Spread evenly over the patted crust in the pan - but don't go all the way to the edges.  Leave about a 1/2 inch of 'naked' crust around the edges.  Bake for 5 minutes.

Step 3:  After the bars have baked for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and top with the coconut.  Then, sprinkle the remaining reserved crust mixture over the bars.  Lastly, top with sprinkles.  Return to the oven for 25-30 minutes or until browned.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Browned Butter Macaroni

Are you familiar with browned butter?  It is something that is simply amazing.  The flavor of it is nutty and slightly sweet.  It is a total cinch to make too - you just need butter and little bit of patience.  And by a little, you can have it made (browned) in less than 10-15 minutes.  Boo-ya!  That's my kind of homemade sauce :)

Now what to do with it?  Well, add some sage and splash cream, stir, and toss with pasta.  Bam!  Best macaroni ever.  No lie.  Try it.  You will be addicted.

Browned Butter Macaroni
Serves 4-6

1/2 Pound Dry Macaroni
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Cream or 1/2 and 1/2
1/2 Tablespoon Dried Sage
Parmesan Cheese

Step 1:  Prepare macaroni according to the package.

Step 2:  While macaroni is cooking, in a small saucepan - add the butter.  Cook on stove top over medium/low heat.  And just let it sit and melt.  Stir occasionally.  It will begin to froth a little - which is fine.  Stir it, you will notice the color changing and little brown bits accumulating on the bottom of the pan.  This is totally what you want!  Add in the cream and sage.  Stir to combine.

Step 3:  Drain the pasta.  Add to bowl and then pour the butter sauce over the macaroni.  Stir to combine.  Top with Parmesan cheese to serve.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Basic Waffles

Waffles are one of my favorite comfort foods.  Not feeling well:  eat waffles.  Bad day at work: waffles for dinner.  Hungry for fried chicken:  serve with waffles.  They are so versatile - you can make them savory or sweet by just adding seasoning of your choice and altering what or how you serve them.  Waffle sundaes with ice cream and whip cream?  Yes please!  But in all seriousness - here is my go-to waffle recipe.  Prepare as is and serve with some breakfast meat and syrup and enjoy.  Or, get crazy - and experiment with seasoning or add-ins of your choice (chocolate chips or how about some orange zest and serve with a minted glaze)!  Please note:  my photo might look more like pancakes, but it's not . . .it's my Mickey Mouse waffle machine.

Basic Waffles
Yield:  6-8 Average Round Waffles

1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
1 and 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Step 1:  To prepare the batter, add the flour, baking powder and salt to a large bowl.  Stir.

Step 2:  To the bowl, now add the eggs, milk and oil.  Stir until smooth.

Step 3:  Cook in a prepared waffle iron according the manufacturer's instructions.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Asian Lettuce Cups

I am a sucker for Asian food.  Honestly, I really am.  And it is the one type of cuisine our family can always agree upon.   These lettuce cups are soooooooooo good . . .and not unhealthy either!  Very easy and quick to make with all the good Asian flavors.  Yum.  This can easily be served as a meal or an appetizer for a party.  Furthermore, you can make it with pork, chicken or turkey.  It's definitely versatile that way!

Asian Lettuce Cups
Serves 4

1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 Pound Ground Pork
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Small White Onion, Diced
1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce
2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Grated Ginger
1 Teaspoon Chile Garlic Paste (or Sriracha)
1 (8-ounce) Can Water Chestnuts, Drained and Diced
2 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
Chopped Nuts (Peanuts or Cashews) - Optional
1 Head Boston Bibb Lettuce, Cleaned and Separated

Step 1:  In a large fry pan, add the sesame oil, ground pork, garlic and white onion.  Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks. 

Step 2:  Once the pork is cooked through, add in the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, grated ginger, chile garlic paste and water chestnuts.  Stir to combine and let cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed and chestnuts are heated through.

Step 3:  To assemble, place a spoonful of ground meat on a lettuce leaf and top with green onion and nuts.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Don't know about you . . .but this warm spring weather has me craving RHUBARB!  My family isn't huge on it . . .but me, I love that dang weed.  I was planning to make my mom's rhubarb bread - but seem to have misplaced the recipe.  So, I whipped up a rhubarb coffee cake instead.  Yum, yum, and yum!   This coffee cake is perfectly moist with a brown-sugar flavor that pairs magnificently with the tartness of the rhubarb.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Serves 24

3 Cups Diced Rhubarb
2 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
3/4 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon, Divided
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Cup Butter, Melted

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare a 9x13 cake pan (grease it).  

Step 2:  In a large mixing bowl, add milk, vinegar, egg, brown sugar, vanilla and oil.  Mix until well combined.

Step 3: In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients:  flour, salt, soda, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Once combined, add to the wet ingredients and stir until just blended.

Step 4:  Add the rhubarb into the mixing bowl and stir by hand until just combined.  Pour into greased cake pan.  Set aside.

Step 5:  In a small bowl, combine the white sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and the melted butter.  Stir to combine and sprinkle/drizzle across the top of the cake batter.  Place pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes - or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool slightly before serving.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Orange You Glad I'm Back?

So, I haven't blogged for a while.  I've missed it.  Not sure if you have missed me though.  I've been sick - but I am on the road to recovery!  And while being ill, my taste-buds were rendered useless.   I hope everyone had a nice Easter.  This salad reminds me of the many family gatherings that we once had on my maternal side of the family.  Enjoy!

Orange Fluff Jell-o Salad
Serves 8

1 Small Box Orange Jell-o
1 Cup Cottage Cheese
1 Small Can Mandarin Oranges
1-8oz Container Cool Whip + more for garnish if desired

Step 1:  Prepare Jello according to the package and chill until firm.

Step 2:  Once Jello is firm, mash with fork.  Add the cottage cheese and stir until well combined.  You can use the electric mixer for this if you wish - it will break up the cottage cheese into smaller bits.

Step 3:  Fold in the Cool Whip into the Jello.

Step 4:  Gently fold in the drained oranges into the Jello mixture.

Step 5:  Chill until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

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.