Sunday, August 2, 2015

Peach Almond Crisp

I love fruit crisp.... especially with extra 'crisp' on it and vanilla ice cream. I loved this recipe, I saw it on one of the cooking channels and had to give it a shot. But I doubled my Crisp recipe... you can never have enough of the stuff. Perfect with peaches and this time of the year when peaches are in season. Enjoy!

Peach Almond Crisp
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups sliced peaches (about 4 to 6 peaches)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

For the topping: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 

In a small bowl, combine the oats, sugar, almonds, butter, cinnamon and salt and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. 

For the filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the peaches sugar, cornstarch, almond extract and nutmeg and transfer to an 8- or 9-inch shallow baking dish. Crumble the topping over the peach mixture. Bake until the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. 

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Boston Cream Pie" Cream Puffs

I had a wild hair to try my hand at Cream puffs the other day. They weren't as hard as people make them sound! I decided to dip the top of mine in ganache like a Boston cream pie... so yummy! I found the recipe for the Cream puff shells and pudding here and followed it pretty much to a tee.... She suggested baking the cream puffs in a muffin tin, which I did. Next time I think I will try just on a cookie sheet on parchment paper... just to see which method I like best. I loved the custard recipe for these.... YUMMO!

"Boston Cream Pie" Cream Puffs
  • Cream Puff Shells
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • Custard Cream Filling
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, heated to warm
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Ganache
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp corn syrup (optional)
For the cream puff shells:
Place oven rack one place below middle. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Set aside a large (12 or more) muffin tin, very lightly buttered. Note: If you can, use a regular aluminum muffin pan, NOT a dark non-stick pan. The puffs will be much bigger with the regular "silver" colored pan. It's worth investing in one of these pans, as you'll be making these again and again.
In a medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add flour, stirring well until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating with spoon or large fork until dough is smooth. Beat additional 10 seconds to continue to increase volume of the dough.
Using a tablespoon, drop dough into deep muffin tins. This doesn't have to be an exact measurement, but depending on how big you want your shells to be. Divide all the batter between 12 tins.
Bake shells in 400 degrees F oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Important that the puffs are golden/crisp or they may collapse. Remove from oven and cool completely.
(The shells can be prepared the day before. Just lightly cover with foil when completely cooled and let sit at room temperature.)
Cook's note: Ingrid just baked the shells on a baking sheet about three inches apart, but my smart aunt decided the muffin tins make a nice shape to hold the cream. Either method works, but Ingrid's way will produce a little flatter shaped shell.
For the custard cream filling:
Place the 4 egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk them together and set aside.
Mix sugar, flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in warm milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Mixture will thicken and bubble. Once it starts to bubble, cook one minute more while still stirring.
Remove from heat. Stir about half of the mixture into beaten egg yolks.
Blend this back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan. Stir constantly just until mixture begins to bubble again.
Add vanilla and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Set aside.
For the Ganache:
Combine chocolate, cream and corn syrup (if using) in a medium sized, microwave-safe bowl and cook on high just until the cream starts to simmer. Whisk or stir thoroughly until all chocolate has melted and ganache is smooth. Let this set for a few minutes, thickens as it cools.
If you add the corn syrup, your ganache will be slightly glossier when it sets, but it is optional and you don’t need to add it to have a good result.
Assembling the cream puffs:
Cut off shell tops.
Dip the top of puff into prepared ganache. Set back on parchment paper lined cookie sheet to set.
Fill bottom of puff with Custard Cream Filling. 
Replace top of puff. Place puffs in refrigerator, uncovered, chilling for 4 hours (at least one hour).  Puffs can remain in fridge overnight this way.
More notes for preparing ahead of time: 
You may completely assemble cream puffs the night before serving, but do not cover them.
For transporting, place completed cream puffs back into muffin tins, cover lightly with foil and they're ready to go!
Makes between 12 cream puffs if made in muffin tin.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bake Cooies

I revamped my No bake cookie recipe a little... Made my normal recipe with my Young Women the other day and they turned out crumbly so I decided to tweak the recipe a little. I figured using 1/2 corn syrup would make them end up a little like the Peanut Butter rice crispy treats I make, plus omitted the milk as you don't need the liquid when adding corn syrup! YUM!!! You can add some chopped dry roasted peanuts if desired as well.
Warning ... these are gooey! isn't everything better a little on the gooey side?

Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bake Cookies
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2- 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter or creamy is fine too
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups oatmeal (I used the quick oats, but old fashioned would work too)
pinch of salt

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and butter  together in a medium size saucepan. Cook over medium/high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil, turn heat down a little (you want it to keep boiling but not to burn) and STOP stirring, let this boil on it's own for 1 minute. (Be sure it boils for 1 whole minute and don't stir even though you will be tempted to... it goes grainy and sugary if you do.)
Remove from heat and add the chocolate and the peanut butter, let sit in the hot mixture for a minute to get melty then stir to help melt and combine. Then stir in the vanilla. Next add the oats and stir to combine.
Drop by Tablespoons onto waxed paper. Let cool and enjoy!! or if you are like me, let cool till you candle handle them and eat two before anyone notices!!
Makes about 16 cookies

Monday, May 25, 2015

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I love pineapple upside down cake--especially warm from the oven with a scoop of french vanilla ice-cream. I started baking when I was 8 years old. I would make cookies most of the time but once in a while I made cakes, I remember making pineapple upside down cake a lot. I also liked to experiment with candies and other recipes, but cakes and cookies were what I baked most. My family loved my desserts--but unfortunately my mother did not like the mess I would make in the kitchen. At that young age I would cook but not clean up after myself. I guess I wanted to go back to my child hood with this recipe.... Loved it! This recipe is easy to make a 1/2 recipe of. I like to measure out cake mixes and then just use half. I pour the rest back in the bag and put in the box to store. I baked in a 8 inch round. Just right for me and my hubby with enough to share with my parents. Enjoy!

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 can (20 ounces) pineapple slices, in natural juice
Maraschino cherries, halved and drained or frozen raspberries (I don't like cherries)

1 package Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Yellow cake mix
1 package (4- serving size) vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup water or drained pineapple juice
1/2 cup oil

Baking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For cake: 
Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, and oil in large mixing bowl.
Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Then, for topping: melt butter in 13"x9"x2" pan in oven. Remove from oven.
Stir in brown sugar. Spread to cover bottom of pan.
Arrange pineapple slices, maraschino cherries-or raspberries (place upside down in center of pineapple slices)  in pan.
Pour batter evenly over fruit in pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Invert onto serving platter.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream YUM!

The sooner you invert the cake onto a serving plate, the less the pineapple slices will stick to the bottom of the pan.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My favorite 'Doctored" Cake Mix recipe

Ok, I have a confession to make... I usually don't make my cakes from scratch.... Yes, I do sometimes, I have a great carrot cake recipe, and a scratch chocolate cake recipe that turns out. BUT sometimes when making a cake, especially for stacked cakes, and vanilla cakes, sometimes they sink in the middle, sometimes they taste like pancakes rather than cake, and sometimes they squish because they are too soft and crumbly... SO!! I use cake mixes... But I doctor them up. I ran across this recipe when looking for a yummy lemon cake recipe. I can't remember where I found (Have tried to find since I made it but no luck)
The great thing about this recipe is you can use most any flavor of cake and pudding mix. And you can add a juice instead of water when making lemon or lime cake and sub any extract flavoring you desire! The possibilities are almost endless! With the cupcake shown above I made a vanilla cake and pudding mix, but added lime juice for the water and coconut milk rather than sour cream.
This cake is super moist but sturdy, holds up to stacking the layers and its just a yummy cake. Have fun with it and enjoy!

Di's favorite 'Doctored' Cake Mix Recipe
1 boxed cake mix (you decide the flavor)
1 small box instant pudding mix (you decide the flavor)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or like I said use lemon, lime, coconut or butter rum....etc)

 Preheat oven to 350 and prep your baking pans. I LOVE Wiltons Cake release and spread that on my pans and they pop right out after cooling.
Mix all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer on low until combined. Then turn up the speed and mix for another 1 to 2  minutes. If your batter is really thick (I find some chocolate mixes really thicken a lot with the pudding mix, add a little more water) You want it to be like a brownie batter or pourable but not too runny. When making lemon or key lime cake I added about 1/4 cup juice and 1/4 cup water.

Divide your cake batter into your baking pans--this makes two 8 or 9 inch round cakes. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Another good test is to slight press your finger in the middle and it should spring back when done. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then remove from pans and finish cooling completely before icing.
 Hope you like this recipe as much as I do.

Chicken Saltimbocca

I love watching the Food network... it inspires me for my weekend cooking. I saw this recipe on Trisha Yearwood's show and it looked yummy! Gave it a try and LOVED it. I did tweak it a bit from reading the review's it sounded like it needed a bit more seasoning.... so I added Garlic powder, and crushed Italian seasoning on the chicken and basil in the ricotta cheese. This was delicious... but next time i make it I might use a really thin sliced Black forest ham. The Prosciutto was good, but couldn't really taste it with the chicken and it's really expensive. But loved this and the sauce.

Chicken Saltimbocca
Adapted from Trisha Yearwood

4 medium chicken cutlets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon or so Italian seasoning
4 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh basil, (I have said it before, I LOVE the tubes of chopped basil and other seasonings you find in the produce department at Walmart)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sauce ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

To prep, pound your chicken cutlets to about 1/2 inch or slightly thinner by placing in a zip loc baggie and pounding with a meat mallet. Also, chop your spinach. And I put the ricotta cheese in a bowl and seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper and added one Tablespoon fresh basil, and stirred to combine.

Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. I also sprinkled on garlic powder and then I crushed a pinch of Italian seasoning in between my fingers while sprinkling over the chicken. I did this on both sides of the chicken. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each piece of chicken, spread with some ricotta and top with some spinach.
 Roll up each cutlet and secure with a toothpick(—just a hint- DON’T use colored toothpicks! I did and had blue spots on my chicken). 

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
While Chicken is cooking make your sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. The roux should have a wet sand consistency. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and whisk constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, remove the toothpicks and spoon over the pan sauce.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Crockpot Southwest Chicken Soup

I have been in a soup mood lately, and anything that's easy. I love cooking things in my crockpot so they are ready when I get home from work. I used frozen chicken breasts, for this recipe. I think they would be too done if not frozen the way I cooked it. I made this soup one day spur of the moment--just started it before leaving for work, shredded the chicken on my lunch break and added the rest of the ingredients, and it was ready when I got home. YUMMO!

Crockpot Southwest Chicken Soup
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (use your favorite)
1 (14 oz ) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can diced green chile peppers
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons ranch dressing mix
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the frozen chicken

Combine all of the ingredients in your crockpot, turn on hi and let cook for about 4 hours.
After 4 hours, shred the chicken best you can with 2 forks while still in the crock pot.
Then add the following:

1 can Hominy (yellow or white) or you can add regular yellow corn if you would rather
1 can black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
Stir a little to combine the cream of chicken soup. Turn your crockpot on low and let simmer for another 3 to 4 hours.
Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese and Fritos or crushed tortilla chips.