Saturday, May 28, 2011

Italian Nachos

I saw this recipe on The Cookin Mama's Blog.  I decided to try it because the claim was They taste like Johnny Carino's Nacho's.  We think they do. ***** You will find WONTON wrappers by the produce.  It's near the fresh herbs, tofu, and egg roll wrappers. 

The wonton's take awhile to fry and they need alot of attention.  So I usually get the oil heating and then start browning the sausage.  When the sausage is about done the oil is hot enough to start frying. 

Cut the wontons diagonally to form triangles.


Turn the wonton's to brown on both sides.

Italian Nachos
by: Home Run Recipes

Vegetable or canola oil
1 pkg won tons, cut diagonally to form triangles
1 lb Italian sausage browned, or 2 cups cooked chicken pieces
1 16 ounce jar alfredo sauce, warm
1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 16 ounce jar sliced pepperochini peppers ( I don't do quite that much)
3 jalapeno peppers, sliced (optional)
2 tomatoes, diced
2/3 cup sliced olives
1/2 cup shave parmesan cheese


Heat oil in heavy saucepan or deep fryer to 350 degrees. Cook the won tons until they barely begin to brown on each side, turning as needed. They will continue to cook a few seconds after removing from the oil . They will cook fast so don't put too many in the pan at a time. Set aside on paper towels to drain.

Pile won tons on a large serving platter. Sprinkle sausage over top. Drizzle with alfredo sauce. Add the cheese, tomatoes, olives, and peppers. Top with parmesan cheese.  OR you can let everyone create their own plate.

Makes  4 plates of nachos.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nutella Cupcakes

It was last summer that I tasted Nutella for the first time.  Some of you are saying WHAT.  It was by choice.  I knew that chocolate on a sandwich would be good and I have little self control when it comes to yummy goodness.  Since it has 100 calories in 1 tablespoon and reality is I would want more then 1 tabelspoon, I just never bought it.  Well, I broke down and bought some and I do LOVE IT.  I still don't buy it that much because I want to dip every apple or banana in it I eat.  These Nutella cup cakes are delicious.  I found the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.  Our family doesn't like cake, we never have cake for birthdays, but these we can't get enough of.  
Here's a few tips for making great cupcakes:
1. Add a box of dry instant pudding to the dry ingredients.
2. Sift all dry ingredients together first.  These helps get out any clumps and makes the ingredients light and easy to mix.
3.Mix oil and eggs together before adding to the dry ingredients.  These are the two ingredients that want to mix together the least and by combining them before hand you will get a better “crumb” to your cupcake.
4. If your recipe calls for butter mix it with the sugar for at least 5 minutes.  They will turn a light color and appear fluffy.
5.To make sure all your cupcakes are the same size use an ice cream scoop.  
6. Remove the cupcakes from your pan right out of the oven.
7. MY FAVORITE TIP  - Place them in a container with a lid and seal them in it to cool.  This creates a softer and moister cupcake.  

Nutella Cupcakes

by: Your Cup of Cake

Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
½ C oil
1/4 cup milk
½ C water
1 tsp vanilla
1 C sour cream
24 tsp Nutella
(1 per cupcake)
Nutella Buttercream:
¾  C Nutella
1/4 C butter, softened
1 1/2 -2 ½ C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 Tbsp  heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffins tins.   In a large bowl, whisk eggs, oil, milk, water and vanilla.    Sift in cake mix and stir in sour cream.   Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and then place a teaspoon of Nutella on top of each one.  Using a toothpick, swirl the Nutella into the batter.   Bake for 14-18 minutes or until the sides spring back.  (The tops will stay gooey because of the Nutella.)   Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place directly into airtight containers so seal in moisture.
Buttercream: Beat the Nutella and butter for 5 minutes.  Add vanilla, then alternate between adding powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream.  Taste the buttercream until you reach your desired sweetness.  You may need to refrigerate the buttercream before piping it onto cooled cup.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fruity Cheesecake

Thanks to my friend Katie at The Cookin Mama's Blog  this is my favorite cheesecake recipe.  This recipe is cooked at 325 not 350.  Yes, from experience I made that mistake and it was super dry.  I cooked it for a family get together and  I was so disappointed.  Don't make the same mistake I did. 

Fruity Cheesecake

60 Nilla Wafers crushed (about 2 cups)
5 tbsp. butter or margarine melted
3 tbsp. sugar
4 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened (I used Philadelphia Cream Cheese)
1 c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 c. sour cream
4 eggs
1 Large pkg instant vanilla pudding (dry)
2 cups Cool Whip (I used more)
1 cup each blueberries, sliced strawberries, and sliced peeled kiwis

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 13x9 inch pan, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray with Pam. (I only extended the foil over the two end sides.) Mix wafer crumbs, butter and 3 tbsp sugar. Press into the bottom of the pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, 1 c. sugar and flour in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each just until blended. Stir in dry pudding mix. Pour over crust.

Bake 1 hour or until center of cheesecake is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours. Lift cheesecake from pan with foil handles. Remove and discard foil. Place cheesecake on platter; spread with cool whip. Top with fruit just before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Brownies in a Jar

This recipe I found from Our Best Bites.  They called it a cupcake.  We are always changing recipe names so at our house it's a brownie in a jar.  For Easter I made 24 of them. I added the peppermint to the ganache but not the frosting.  I also didn't add the red strip for Easter.  To make 24 you'd 3x's the recipe.   My brother-in-law said he was full after Easter dinner so when he first saw the frosting on the top his thought was how can I eat around this.  Then he tasted it and his thoughts changed to how can I get more of thisI took lots of pictures but mine just aren't as pretty as Our Best Bites.  I am going to mainly copy their post.  I used different shaped jars so you can see one below.  They worked great.  Remember that the batter rises so don't over fill. 

It starts with melted butter and chocolate.  How could anything that starts with melted butter and chocolate not end well?
And like I mentioned, just stir in the dry ingredients by hand.  That actually makes this recipe really quick and easy, no messy beaters and butter fluffing.  **** This recipe is forgiving because once I forgot to add the sugar before mixing each egg in.  They still tasted amazing.

Fill up your cute little jars.   The cupcakes will rise and you need room for both the frosting and the ganache, so fill them no more than 1/2 way full. I have filled them to full so we just cut some of the tops off. 

Pop those in the oven, and you can prepare your ganache while they’re baking.  Cream.  Chocolate.  Peppermint.  Can’t go wrong there either. 
Take your cakes out to cool, and your ganache will be setting up/thickening at this point as well.
Some of your cakes may have a little well in the center which makes a great little holding spot for the ganache.  You can also take a paring knife, or an apple corer works great, and hollow out the center like this:
It’s really up to you.  If you don’t have a lot of space on top you might want to hollow out the center.  If you’ve got room and want more of a layer of ganache on top, then skip the coring and just pour the ganache on top.
Once your cakes have cooled to close to room temp (a little warm is okay)  pour ganache over each one.  If your ganache has gotten too thick to pour at this point, just warm it up in the microwave in about 10 second intervals.
Then tilt the jars around so you get a complete chocolate cover.  This actually helps keep the cupcake part really moist and fresh so you can wait a day or two to share them, or finish them if you don’t have time to do it all at once.

Recipe by Our Best Bites
Makes approximately 8 jars or 12 Cupcakes
Cupcakes  (cake base for this dessert adapted from Shelly Kaldunski)
 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz chocolate, chopped.  (or abt 1/2 C chips) Use bittersweet, dark, or semi-sweet.
1/2 C + 3 Tbs real butter, cut into pieces
3/4 C plus 2 Tbs sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 8oz wide mouth mason jars (the short squatty kind)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.   Set mixture aside and let cool 10-15 minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Using a wooden spoon (don’t use an electric mixer) stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined.  Stir in the eggs one and a time, beating with your spoon until combined after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla.  Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not overmix.
Place the mason jars on a cookie sheet.  Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 jars (no need for greasing the jars) or 12 cupcake liners if you’re going that route.  The jars should be about half full or a little less.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the jar comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached 22-25 minutes.   Remove from oven and carefully (with a pot-holder!) transfer jars to a cooling rack.  Let jars cool till at least close to room temperature before topping with ganache.

Peppermint Ganache
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine)
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
Place chocolate chips in a bowl.  Heat cream in microwave until bubbles form around the outside.  Pour in bowl over chocolate chips and immediately cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 5 minutes, add peppermint extract and then whisk until smooth.  Let cool un-covered until thickened slightly, almost like a thin pudding.
To assemble, pour 1 1/2-2 Tbs ganache over the top of each cupcake jar.  If desired, use a paring knife to first hollow out a well in the middle of the cake.  Tilt jars to distribute ganache evenly over the top of the cake and then let cool for the ganache to set.  If storing overnight, place lids and rings on jars and leave at room temperature.

I’m going to show you a fun trick to getting that candy cane stripe! You’ll need gel food coloring (available in the baking isle, a clean paint brush (I keep a set just for baking/cooking) and a piping bag.  This works great with parchment paper bags too (in fact, I think it sticks a little better to parchment) so if you have a tip and some parchment you can just make your own.   If you don’t have anything but the food coloring you could try winging it with a large ziplock bag with the tip cut off.  that would probably work just fine, it just might be a little difficult to have the food coloring stick to the bag as you’ll see in the next step.
Fold down the outer edge of your bag so it sits open by itself. Dip your brush into your food coloring and paint lines up the side of your bag.  And yes, I’m completely aware that mine looks freaky- like my piping bag got attacked by a bear or something.  I paint all the way down to my tip.
Then carefully add your frosting.  Try to plop it in there right in the center so you don’t have to mush it around too much.  As you pipe out the frosting, the color will come out in lines and you’ll get a great candy-cane stripe!  (On a side-note, try this technique with rainbow colors and colorburst cupcakes- how amazing would that look?!)
Just give it a nice swirl, being careful to not go above the top of the jar, and then sprinkle some crushed candycanes on top.

Use this frosting recipe, adding peppermint extract (in addition to the vanilla extract called for) at the end by 1/4 tsp to taste.  I prefer at least 1/2 tsp.  See instructions in the above post for creating a red and white striped look.  Pipe frosting on each jar, being careful to leave room for the lid.  If desired, sprinkle on some crushed candycanes and then screw on jar lids.

Storage:  Note that just because these are in jars does not mean they are shelf stable for extended periods of time.  Also, baked goods are always best fresh, that being said, here are a few storage options.
When fully made, store with lids on at room temp for a day or two.   If made up to the ganache step (before frosting) you can screw lids on and store in the fridge for 3-4 days, then frost right before gifting.  If you’d like to fully prepare them a day or two ahead of time, I would actually reverse the filling and topping.  Core out the center of the cupcakes and fill with frosting.  Place the “cap” of the cupcake back over the hole and then top the entire top with ganache and a sprinkling of candycane.  Store at room temp for 1-2 days or refrigerated for 3-4. **** I have frozen them and they tasted amazing even after defrosting. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yogurt Salad

My friend Katie brought this to me after I had my last baby. The picture of it is on a different camera and I remembered the cord is missing.  As soon as I find the cord I will post a photo.  Tip ***  when you use frozen berries it's best to wait right before serving to mix them in because as they defrost they bleed juices into the salad and it starts to look funny. 

32 oz. Yougurt, strawberry or vanilla
1 Large instant vanilla pudding
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 bag mixed berries frozen

Mix the yogurt, pudding and cool whip together.  Right before serving mix in the berries.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got this recipe from my friend Joyce.  Her husband came up with this cookie recipe.  It actually won a blue ribbon at the fair.  For a soft cookie I bake them for 7-10 minutes.  For a crunchy cookie I bake them for 12-13 minutes. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies
By: Home Run Recipes

1 cup of Butter
1 cup of Shortening
1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Cup White Sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp. Vanilla
Cream the above ingredients together well.

Sift together the following ingredients:
5 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
Add to the creamed mixture then add the following:
1 1/2 cups chopped Walnuts
1 - 12oz. pkg. chocolate chips (I used mini choc. chips in the picture)

Bake 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes for soft or 12-13 for crunchy.

Spokane Sauce

This sauce is good over broccoli or asparagus.  My brother in law Brad invented this.  Since he lives in Spokane we call it Spokane Sauce.  He just eyeballs it so I had to try it a few times so I could get measurements for it.  Just buy a thick teriyaki sauce with sesame seeds in it. 

These are the only 3 ingredients plus your vegetable of choice. Don't forget you can always add a little more of any ingredient till you love it.  

1 Cup Teriyaki
1/2  tsp A1
1 tsp Zesty Italian

Mix and drizzle over vegetable.