Friday, March 28, 2014

Creamy Lime Parfaits

I have a very bad case of spring fever.  We had a taste of nice weather the other week, but it is once again snowing today.  Ug.  I am hoping this yummy dessert will help lift my spirits!  Think:  it's a little bit like key lime pie, but creamier and a little less tart.  Oh.So.Good.

Creamy Lime Parfaits
Serves:  4 large servings or 6 regular servings.
1 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
1 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Lime Juice
Green Food Coloring
2 Egg Yolks, slightly beaten
4 oz. Cream Cheese, room temp and cubed
Whipped Cream (or Cool Whip)
Cookie or Graham Crackers (optional for garnish)

Step 1:  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch;  mix well.  Stir in the water, lime juice and egg yolks.  Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly.  Boil 1 minute.  Add cream cheese and stir until cream cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.  Add a few drops of green food coloring and stir until well combined.  Cool to room temp.

Step 2:  Once the lime filling has cooled, stir in 1/2 cup of the whipped cream.

Step 3.  Gather your serving dishes!  I used 4 small mason jars.  Add roughly a quarter cup of the lime filling to each jar.  Then an equal amount of whip cream.  And then more lime.  And then top with remaining whipped cream.  Garnish at own will.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sweet and Sour Broccoli Salad

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh . . spring is in the air!  It finally hit 50 here recently . .which was completely decadent!  That's pretty much tanning weather here :)  With that in mind, I instantly craved fresh fruits and veggies and lots of salads.  And then, I opened the weekly circular for the grocery store and these items were on special:  broccoli and cheese.  I didn't need to see any more.  That meant one thing to me:  Sweet and Sour Broccoli Salad.  The remaining few ingredients needed for the salad, I already had in the pantry.

I absolutely love this salad because it's a good combination of sweet, green, creamy and just enough salt.  I've been known to eat a huge helping of this  . . .as my entire meal.  Yum.

Sweet & Sour Broccoli Salad

10 Slices Cooked Bacon, Crumbled
1 Head Broccoli, cleaned and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 Small Red Onion, diced
1/2 Cup Raisins
1 Cup Unsalted Sunflower Seed Kernels
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons White Vinegar

In a large bowl, combine the bacon, broccoli, onion, raisins, cheddar cheese and sunflower seeds.  In a separate bowl, combine the mayo, sugar and vinegar and mix well.  Add the dressing to the salad and mix thoroughly.  Chill 1 hour before serving.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Crockpot Steak Marsala

Here is a recipe I hope you'll really enjoy.  It's one that combines many things I love:  steak, mushrooms, marsala, garlic, paprika and thyme.  No fancy cut of steak needed here - use a round steak, which is typically inexpensive.  Let it slow cook all day . . .come home from work and bam! dinner is nearly ready :)

Crockpot Steak Marsala

1.5 lbs Round Steak
8 oz. Fresh Mushrooms (sliced or quartered)
1 Large Onion, diced
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Tablespoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Marsala
3/4 Cup Chicken or Vegetable Broth
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

Step 1:  Place steak in your crockpot.

Step 2:  Add the mushrooms, onions, thyme, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper to the crockpot.

Step 3:  In a small bowl, combine the sherry and cornstarch.  Stir with a fork until smooth.  Add the broth and stir until combined.  Pour this mixture over everything in the crockpot.

Step 4:  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Step 5:  Remove steak from crockpot and place on platter.  Now, add the 1/2 and 1/2 to the crockpot.  Stir until well combined.  Ladle over the steak to serve.  Or, you can place the sauce into a serving dish to serve on the side.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Crazy Cake

Have you ever heard of crazy cake?  And what really makes it crazy versus a regular cake?   Well, let me first tell you that it's crazy because it doesn't use any eggs.  Wha--wha--what?  You read it right - no eggs in this recipe!!  As well, it's a one bowl recipe and you can even stir it with a fork.  I call that not-crazy . . or simply AWESOME!

And what's the perfect occassion for a crazy cake??  How about the craziest holiday of them all . . .St. Patrick's Day!  To give this cake a little holiday flair - I added some chopped Andes Mints.  I'm not entirely sure why we associate Irish with mint . .is it simply the green color?  Honestly, I'm not Irish nor have I ever been to Ireland.  Sounds like some crazy American theory (in my honest opinion)!

Crazy Cake
1 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Soda
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Cold Water
1 Cup Andes Mints, Roughly Chopped 

Step 1:  Prepare an 8x8 baking pan and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2:  Add all dry ingredients to a mixing bowl.  Stir together until well blended.

Step 3:  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  If adding the Andes Mints, sprinkle them on top of the batter (they will sink while baking).

Step 4:  Pour cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Serving Idea:  Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup and creme de menthe and a dollop of whipped cream.