Thursday, October 16, 2014

Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies

This recipe is mostly like my Peanut Butter Cookie recipe only with a little more flour and milk chocolate covered toffee bits. What could be better than that?? I love Peanut Butter cookies and these don't disappoint, just have a glass of milk on hand. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour

1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup toffee bits (I used Heath Toffee Bits)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with  parchment paper and set aside. 
Cream butters and sugars together until light and fluffy. Stir in egg and vanilla. Scrape sides and mix again. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in toffee bits by hand. Scoop dough balls onto baking sheet  (I used about a tablespoon size cookie scoop) leaving lots of room around each cookie to expand. Press down cookie dough balls using a fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 3 minutes and then remove to cooling rack. Serve immediately with a glass of milk! Enjoy!

Molten Lava Cake

I love chocolate.....Loved this recipe. I"m slow posting it but I served for dessert on my wedding anniversary. You know those desserts at restaurants that are individual chocolate cakes filled with molten chocolate? Well this is them!! This recipe is delicious and just what a lava cake should be....ooey gooey chocolaty yumminess. I served mine with raspberries and vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy!

Molten Lava Cake
  • 4 pieces (squares) Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
  • ½ cups Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons Flour
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray 4 custard cups with Pam and place on cookie sheet.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. whisk until chocolate is also melted.
Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.
Divide between cups.
Bake about 15 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. Let stand 1 minute.
Invert cakes on dishes and top with vanilla ice cream and raspberries. You can also drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

No, I haven't started drinking..... I just went to an Italian restaurant when I was on vacation last year and had pasta with vodka sauce... oh my goodness it was delicious! And when you cook with alcohol, the alcohol cooks out when simmered..... just embarrassing going to a liquor store to buy the stuff when you don't drink. You don't know what to buy! But I found this recipe here and had to give it a try. Of course I tweaked to my taste and ingredients I had on hand, but this was delicious! I served with steak and steamed veggies. Be sure to read the note below the recipe for a delicious way to use up any leftovers.YUMMO!

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

  • 1 pound Pasta(I used the country style noodles, but you can use any that you like)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped Finely
  • 2 cloves (to 3 Cloves) Garlic, Chopped
  • 3/4 cups (to 1 Cup) Vodka
  • 1 can (About 14 Oz.) Tomato Puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried Parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon (to 1/2 Teaspoon) Salt
  •  Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preparation Instructions:
Cook pasta according to package directions, being careful not to overcook.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add in chopped onion and garlic. Stir and allow to cook for two minutes. Pour in vodka. Stir and cook for three minutes. Add in tomato puree and basil: stir. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and stir in cream. Allow to simmer, being careful not to overheat, for about 3 more minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes, Parsley, salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water in case sauce is too thick. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to combine. Splash in a little water if it needs it. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
Pour mixture into large serving bowl. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

If you have leftovers this is what I did:
Brown 1 lb. hot sausage in a skillet, when all browned remove from skillet onto a paper lined plate. Leave about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat from the sausage in the skillet and sauté 1 green bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper that has been thinly sliced. When your peppers are crunchy tender, toss the sausage back in the pan along with your leftover pasta. Stir and cook until pasta is heated through. Serve with salad and crusty french bread. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Di's Tomato Soup

I have a couple of Tomato Soup recipes posted on my blog already, which are both good. One is more Italian tasting and the other is more spicy with Orzo in it. After making and liking both recipes, the next time I made Tomato soup I slightly combined the two different recipes to my desired taste using what I liked about them both and this is the recipe I came up with. I found myself using it all the time. Since my daughter LOVES tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches and is starting to cook at home... Yahoo!!! I decided I better post the recipe how I make it. Here you go Sarah! Enjoy!

Di’s Tomato Soup
Olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth (I use a whole box of chicken broth, almost 4 cups) 
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon dried parsley (you could use fresh if you have it)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (if desired)
1/2 pint heavy cream

Garnish if desired with:
Seasoned croutons 
Grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, heat about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Then add the minced garlic and onion, saute for about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and the chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add thesugar, parsley, salt, black pepper, italian seasoning, turmeric, cumin, curry powder and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine and let this simmer for about 20-25 minutes more.
This is a slightly chunky soup, if you desire a smooth soup, puree in a blender a little at a time, or use a submersible blender. After blending return to pan.
Then stir in the heavy cream, and heat through. Serve in individual bowls topped with croutons and Parmesan cheese if desired!!  Or serve with grilled cheese sandwiches cut into strips—perfect for dipping. Yummo!

*Note-you can adjust the amount of seasoning to taste… I usually end up adding just a bit more curry and cumin…. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Creamy Mushroom Fontina Pasta

I love pasta... one weekend I was craving mushrooms and pasta. I ran across this recipe here and had to give it a try. It was delish... I did substitute and change things according to the ingredients I had on hand but we loved it. I served mine with grilled chicken and sauteed garden beans YUMMO! 

Creamy Mushroom Fontina Pasta
10 ounces dried wide pasta (I used Bowtie pasta)
1/2 butter, divided
20 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
½ cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 large shallots) or green onions work
⅓ cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces Fontina cheese, diced small (I used Mozzarella cheese since I had that on hand)
½ cup chopped parsley ( or 1 Tablespoon dried parsley)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain and reserve ¾ cup of the cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute half of the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with 2 tablespoons butter and the remaining mushrooms, transferring them to the plate with the rest of the mushrooms.
3. Add the shallots to skillet and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms back to the skillet, along with the wine (or chicken broth); cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and season with 1 teaspoon salt.
4. Reduce the heat to low and add the cooked pasta, cheese and parsley, tossing with the sauce until the pasta is coated and the cheese starts melting. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Salted Caramel Candy Corn Peanut Butter Treats

OK... I must say these are Yummo! I usually make rice crispy treats for Young Women's activities, you know, the scotch-a-roo recipe? only sometimes I don't put the melted chocolate on them. When I was in grade school on Fridays, the lunch ladies would make them only with Corn flakes ... LOVED 'em! so that is what I did to my normal crispy treat recipe, substituted Corn flakes. Also this time of the year they have Candy corns on the shelves.... and they come in different flavors! Like pumpkin spice, caramel, and s'more flavor. I bought the caramel ones YUM! So I threw in a cupful after I had added the cornflakes to the syrup then sprinkled the finished product with about 1/ 2 teaspoon of sea salt..... oh so yummy! Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Candy Corn Peanut Butter Treats

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light karo syrup
Mix together in medium size saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, make sure it comes to a good rolling boil, don't boil too long or treats will be too hard, just . Then remove from heat.
Stir in:
1 cup peanut butter
Stir until PB is melted.
Meanwhile have 6 cups Corn Flakes measured in big mixing bowl. Pour peanut butter mixture over corn flakes and stir till they're all coated.
Stir in:
1 cup Caramel Candy Corns
Pour into buttered 13x9 can pan. Spread out with spatula coated with pam spray. 
Next, sprinkle about a 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt over the top (i pinched between my fingers and sprinkled randomly over the treats... you don't want too much in one spot but you do want a little salty flavor all over. 
Cut into squares and enjoy! YUM!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fresh Peach Pie

I love Peach Pie--this is the perfect time of year to make one too. Autumn is just around the corner and peaches are in season. I love the smell of Pie baking with the windows open and the crispy fall air coming in the kitchen on a slight breeze... Perfect! This pie was delicious! not too runny and perfect with french vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Fresh Peach Pie
3 pounds peaches, peeled, quartered, and pitted, each quarter cut into thirds 
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) plus 3 tablespoons sugar 
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons low- or no-sugar-needed fruit pectin (you can find this by the canning   supplies)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Pinch ground nutmeg 
1 recipe Pie Dough for Lattice-Top Pie (see recipe below) 
1 tablespoon cornstarch


1. Toss peaches, ½ cup sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Combine pectin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl and set aside.
2. Remove dough from refrigerator. Before rolling out dough, let it sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. Roll 1 disk of dough into 12-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Transfer to parchment paper–lined baking sheet. With pizza wheel, fluted pastry wheel, or paring knife, cut round into ten 1¼-inch-wide strips. Freeze strips on sheet until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll other disk of dough into 12-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9-inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into plate bottom with your other hand. Leave any dough that overhangs plate in place. Wrap dough-lined pie plate loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, transfer 1 cup peach mixture to small bowl and mash with fork until coarse paste forms. Drain remaining peach mixture through colander set in large bowl. Transfer peach juice to liquid measuring cup (you should have about ½ cup liquid; if liquid measures more than ½ cup, discard remainder). Return peach pieces to bowl and toss with cornstarch. Transfer peach juice to 12-inch skillet, add pectin mixture, and whisk until combined. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and pectin is dissolved (liquid should become less cloudy), 3 to 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add peach pieces and peach paste, and toss to combine.
5. Transfer peach mixture to dough-lined pie plate. Remove dough strips from freezer; if too stiff to be workable, let stand at room temperature until malleable and softened slightly but still very cold. Lay 2 longest strips across center of pie perpendicular to each other. Using 4 shortest strips, lay 2 strips across pie parallel to 1 center strip and 2 strips parallel to other center strip, near edges of pie; you should have 6 strips in place. Using remaining 4 strips, lay each one across pie parallel and equidistant from center and edge strips. If dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate pie and dough strips until dough firms up.
6. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Press edges of bottom crust and lattice strips together and fold under. Folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Crimp dough evenly around edge of pie using your fingers. Using spray bottle, evenly mist lattice with water and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
7. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is set and begins to brown, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly at center, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Let cool on wire rack for 3 hours before serving.

Pie Dough for Lattice-Top Pie
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour  
  •                 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 7 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled 
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and frozen for 30 minutes 
  • 10 - 12 tablespoons ice water 


1. Process flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter shortening over top and process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer to bowl.
 2. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons ice water over flour mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to evenly combine water and flour mixture. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons ice water over mixture and continue using folding motion to combine until small portion of dough holds together when squeezed in palm of your hand, adding up to 2 tablespoons remaining ice water if necessary. (Dough should feel quite moist.) Turn out dough onto clean, dry counter and gently press together into cohesive ball. Divide dough into 2 even pieces and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.