Monday, June 20, 2011

Pine Nut Caramel Shortbread

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, cubed
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pine nuts
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coarse salt, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Pat onto the bottom of a greased 15-in.x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Prick dough thoroughly with a fork.
Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce temperature to 325°.
In a large saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, sugar, cream and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 234° (soft-ball stage). Remove from the heat; stir in pine nuts and vanilla. Spread evenly over crust.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Place pan on a wire rack.
Sprinkle the top with coarse salt if desired. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 4 dozen.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Easy Braised Brisket

YIELD: 8 servings

1 (2 1/2-pound) beef brisket*, trimmed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

*I couldn't find beef brisket, so I used a sirloin tip roast instead

Sprinkle brisket evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add brisket to pan; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove brisket from pan. Add onion and oregano to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Return brisket to pan; add 1/2 cup water. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours. Add olives and tomatoes; cover and cook 1 hour. Remove brisket from pan. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut brisket against grain into thin slices; return brisket slices to pan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homemade Twix Bars

These are so darn delicious and super easy!
Makes a 9X13 pan, or double for a cookie sheet
Mix in a sauce pan:
1 c. graham crackers (crushed)
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
Bring to a boil for 5 minutes

Layer bottom of pan in club crackers. Pour the Carmel mixture over the top. Put on another layer of club crackers and then chill for 30 minutes

Melt in microwave: 2/3 c. peanut butter and 1 c. milk chocolate chips
Spread on top and then chill until frosting is firm.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Angel Chicken

3-4 chicken breasts
1/4 c butter
1 pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 c white grape juice
4- 8 oz cream cheese with chives

Place uncooked chicken breasts in crock pot. In saucepan, melt butter. Add seasoning mix and blend, followed by soup, juice and cream cheese. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW about 3 hours. Shred chicken and mix thoroughly. Serve over noodles or rice.

Note: I used 1 lb chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts (because that's what I had on hand), and then halved the rest of the recipe. Delicious!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

This recipe is one that a friend created, so there isn't exact measurements, cause she just showed me how to make it.

Fry chopped bacon (or just buy pre-cooked bacon from the Costcos like me :))
Saute onions, carrots and celery in about a tablespoon of butter until carrots are oh so tender.
Add chicken or vegetable broth (2-3 cans) and chopped potatoes.
Cook until potatoes are tender and add most of a quart of half and half. Use the remaining half and half to make a thickener with some flour or cornstarch. Add that to the soup to thicken her right on up. Add the bacon here.
I put shredded cheese and sour cream on top but you can put anything that tastes good on baked potatoes in it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Meatloaf with ricotta

I came across this recipe on The Early Show - I love their recipes - and made it for dinner the other night. There were 8 adults and 5 children eating; there was a small piece left over for me to enjoy yesterday for lunch. It goes a long way and is delicious!

MEATLOAF WITH RICOTTA -- Polpettone di Manzo con Ricotta
Serves 8 or more

1 cup milk
3 cups day-old bread cubes, from a loaf of country bread
3 pounds ground beef
3 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
1 pound drained fresh ricotta (about 2 cups), plus more for the sauce if you like
1 bunch scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 3.4 inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 5 cups Tomato Sauce

Recommended equipment: A sturdy roasting pan, 10 by 17 inches or larger

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pour the milk over the bread cubes in a bowl, and let soak for a few minutes, until the bread is saturated.

Squeeze the soft bread a handful at a time, pressing out as much milk as you can (discard milk, or give it to a pet), then tear bread into small shreds and toss back into the bowl. Crumble the ground beef into the bowl, and add the eggs, ricotta, scallions, grated cheese, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Fold and toss everything together, and squeeze the mixture a few times between your fingers to distribute all the ingredients evenly. Scatter the mozzarella cubes on top, and fold and mush them throughout the loaf mix.

Brush the roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Gather the meat mixture in the bowl, turn it into the pan, and shape it into a fat oval loaf. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover the pan with foil tent it so it doesn't touch the meat -- and bake 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake until the meatloaf is browned all over and completely cooked through, another 1 hour and 30 minutes or so. (If you check the loaf with a meat thermometer, it should reach a temperature of 160o.) Remove the roast from the oven, and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat the tomato sauce to a simmer in a saucepan as the meat rests. Turn off the heat, and, if you like, stir 1/2 cup or so fresh ricotta into the sauce. Cut the loaf crosswise in the pan or on a cutting board, in slices as thick as you like. Serve topped with a spoonful or two of sauce, and pass more sauce at the table (or, for family-style serving, arrange the slices on a warm platter, topped with some of the sauce).

Note: If you love fresh ricotta, as I do, you can stir some into the tomato sauce, too, just before serving the meatloaf.

Ham and noodle crockpot casserole

I know, I know. "Casserole" makes you not want to make it, right? I made this for our monthly family potluck last week and it was a hit. So I was asked to post the recipe here. Just try it; you won't be sorry you did :) (For the potluck I doubled this recipe.)

1 cup uncooked noodles
vegetable oil
1 cup cooked cubed ham
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (12 to 16 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 tablespoon chopped pimiento
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
dash ground black pepper, or to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions until barely tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and toss the cooked noodles with 2 to 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil, just enough to coat. Add noodles, ham, cream of chicken soup, corn, pimiento, cheese, ground pepper, and green bell pepper to a greased crockpot; stir gently to mix. Cover and cook on LOW setting 6 to 7 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serves 3 to 4.