Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Acorn Treats

If you are looking for a cute little edible favor for Thanksgiving, you may want to consider these Acorn Treats!

Did I mention they are quick and easy to prepare?

I just couldn't resist taking a photo of the squirrel towel along with the acorn treats~

Acorn Treats:

1 bag of Nutter Butter Bites
Chocolate Kisses
Milk chocolate chips

That's it for the ingredients!

Melt a half bag of milk chocolate chips and "glue" a kiss to each Nutter Butter Bite

When that is finished, "glue" a chocolate chip to the other end and allow to dry

That is it, you are finished~

Happy Fall Everyone!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkin "Surprise" Muffins

Pumpkins are certainly calling and urging me to try new recipes and this one is a keeper.

There is a wonderful cheesy filling hiding in the middle of the a little surprise to the taste buds!

You can see in the above photo the slice of filling just prior to adding the remainder of batter before heading to the oven.

The pics above and below show the cheese filling...the one above is prior to placing in freezer for at least an hour.

The picture below is the cheese log just coming out of the freezer.

Cheese Filling:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth and fluffy. Form into a "log" on plastic wrap (keep in mind that the diameter of log must fit into the muffin tin and be long enough for 24 pieces). Wrap tightly and freeze for at least an hour...I was busy and left mine in the freezer for almost 2 hours.

Pumpkin Muffins:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with paper liners

3 cups flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin

Combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk together completely...set aside

Combine eggs, oil, sugar, and pumpkin...beat until well combined.

Add the flour mixture and mix on low until the flour is just moistened.

Streusel Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut in cubes
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl and combine with a pastry blender or your fingers (I chose fingers)

Fill each muffin cup about half full with batter.
Remove cheesy log from freezer and slice into 24 pieces. Place a piece in each half filled muffin. With remaining batter, cover the cheese piece completely with batter.

Sprinkle the streusel on top of each muffin and place in oven for 18 - 25 minutes.
Cool completely~

Your home will smell like fall and just wait until you taste the muffins...oh my!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Acorn Treats

Fall is quickly approaching and the mind works overtime thinking of all the cooking/crafting opportunities to accomplish!

These cute little acorn treats are perfect for a touch of fall...tasty, as well!

I really enjoy Nutella and decided to use it as a frosting substitute for these little morsels.

The combination of sweet and salty is taken care of in this recipe...just a touch of salty is the little pretzel stem and the Nutella takes care of the sweet!

Purchase donut holes and re-glaze if necessary. Spread Nutella or chocolate frosting on the top of designated donut hole and immediately dip in chocolate Jimmies and then insert a pretzel stick that you have broken in 1/2. Allow to dry on waxed paper.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Snicker Bars

If you like the Snickers Candy Bar you will surely delight in this home made version...but please know I am not responsible for calories consumed...there are many!

The multiple layers are simply heavenly!

Chocolate...caramel...peanuts...nougat...and more chocolate...what's not to like?

Snicker Bars:

Layer One:

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Melt the above ingredients in the microwave, in 30 second intervals until melted. Spread the chocolate mixture in a 9 x 13 pan which has been lightly greased (I used a glass pan). Place in fridge to cool.

Filling Layer:

1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cup marshmallow cream
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, add sugar and milk, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and stir for 3-4 minutes. The mixture will begin to follow the spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the marshmallow cream, peanut butter and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Spread over first layer and sprinkle chopped peanuts over the top.

Caramel Layer:

14 oz. bag caramels
1/4 cup whipping cream

Unwrapping the caramels takes awhile (perfect job for the hubby)
Melt the caramels with the whipping cream in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so until thoroughly melted. Carefully spread over the filling layer.

Top Layer:

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Melt together in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Spread evenly over the caramel layer. Store in the fridge until cooled and hardened. Cut into small bars.

I placed the pan back into the fridge between layers and the bars are best served right from the fridge!

Personally, I like a little fleur de sel sprinkled on top of the Snickers Bar...garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Peach Jam

The Red Haven peach is popular at our home...personally, I like them sliced with just a sprinkling of sugar, topped off with whipping cream (not whipped, just poured on)!

I decided to make some freezer jam to enjoy the hint of summer during the winter months.

No special recipe...just follow the Sure Jell instructions...quick and easy!!!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Raspberry-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes

There is more to these cupcakes than meets the eye...

They are pretty as a picture with the cute cupcake liners that Courtney gave me and then the swirl of buttercream icing just seems to call...

The tiny little edible pearls...well they are perfect to tatch off the presentation...

But wait...there is more...a delicious raspberry filling...oh my!

Raspberry-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes:

1 box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Vanilla cake mix
3 large eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup water

Melt the butter in the microwave, then add cake mix, eggs, and water. Mix on low for about a minute then on high for another minute.
How easy is that?
Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes

Raspberry Filling:

2 cups frozen, sweetened raspberries, thaw completely (reserving liquid)
To the reserved liquid, add enough water to measure 1 1/4 cups
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a medium sauce pan, combine the liquid, then whisk in the cornstarch and lemon juice. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens (medium high heat)

Cool completely~

Cut out a small cone shaped section in the center of each cupcake and add raspberry filling in the hole. Replace the cone shaped top and then you are ready to frost.

Use the buttercream frosting recipe of your choice and pipe on with a Wilton 1M tip.

These cupcakes are very tasty!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Havarti & Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I wish we had a fresh meat market in town! I wanted skinless-boneless chicken breasts but settled on breasts with the rib meat attached...ugh!

Despite my little fit about not getting what I was attitude adjustment time!

I really like Havarti cheese and pair it with apples-oh yum-a taste treat indeed!

Try to purchase nice large breasts-MINUS-the rib meat as they would assemble so much easier!

Havarti & Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
Thinly peeled apple slices
1/4 cup Havarti, shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider
Fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit about 2" long in thick side of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Season inside of pocket with salt and pepper. Stuff 3-4 apple slices & 1 tbsp. Havarti into each pocket. Secure cut edges together with wooden picks.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium/high heat and add chicken...cook two minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from heat and transfer to oven for about 20 minutes, turning once. Remove chicken from skillet and place on serving platter.

To the skillet, add the apple cider and stir for about 4 minutes over medium/high heat or until cider has reduced and thickens a bit. Pour cider mixture over the chicken and serve. You may want to garnish with chopped parsley, sliced green onions and a few sprigs on thyme.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicken Apple Sausage With Penne

If you have not tried the chicken and apple sausage, available in most grocery stores, you should consider it! The hint of apple is really tasty, especially as we approach the fall season!

I chose to use Penne pasta but you could use another variety if you wish.

I prepared this dish after work and it doesn't take long at all, unless however you are really hungry.

With a side of steamed broccoli and summer squash-oh and the sliced nectarine you have a nice flavorful dinner.

Chicken Apple Sausage With Penne:

3 quarts water
2 1/2 cups uncooked pasta
12 oz. package of chicken apple sausage
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat sausage according to package directions (I microwaved)~Cut sausage into bite sized pieces
In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add pasta and cook about 7 minutes, drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid
Sprinkle flour into saucepan and gradually whisk in the milk and reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly for at least two minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in mustard, sage, salt, and pepper. Finally, add the sausage and pasta.
Transfer the mixture to an 8X8 baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the shredded Swiss on top and place back in oven (uncovered) and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
Garnish with fresh sage~


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Savory Tartlets

Now, this is my kind of dinner but Ben, on the other hand, thought there should be a little meat included in the tartlets...maybe next time!

I cut the puff pastry into 3" rounds and using a sharp knife scored four little cuts being cautious not to cut through the dough.

The above photo was snapped just prior to placing in oven~

Here we have the finished product and the aroma is heavenly throughout the house.

Mushroom, Gruyere, and Caramelized Onion Tartlets:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, I used a sweet onion, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
16 oz. white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chicken broth or white wine
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
1egg beaten together with 1 tbsp. water
Handful of parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat and then add the onions. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until onions start to caramelize (about 20 minutes or so)- be patient in this process, you'll be happy you did!

Add the butter to pan of onions and once melted, add the mushrooms, stirring once in awhile until they are completely soft and the liquid has evaporated. This takes 20-25 minutes. Again, be patient!

Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken broth and cook once again until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.

Unfold the pastry sheets and cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter, placing the rounds on a silpat lined cookie sheet (you will need two sheets). Cut 4 small slits into each round as in the above photo.

Top the rounds with a small amount of the mushroom mixture, keeping the filling within the score marks. Top with shredded cheese and brush the edges of pastry with the egg wash.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Garnish with parsley!

You could make these into appetizers very easily, just use smaller rounds of pastry. Using the 3" round made 16 tartlets so if they were cut smaller you would have many appetizers.

Perhaps next time I will please Ben by putting a little sausage into the mixture but I was completely happy with the recipe as is!!!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Zucchini Stromboli

I had some zucchini on hand as well as a can of crescent rolls...what to the internet...and here is what I found!

Be warned that this is bit messy to prepare but the end will result will please your palate!

As you can see in the above photo the crescent roll seams are a bit difficult to close with the moisture of the shredded zucchini.

Here, you can see the ingredients all in place and ready to roll up and bake!

I wanted to show the garlic and chopped basil, before adding the zucchini and mozzarella.

Zucchini Stromboli:

1 can Pillsbury Crescent Roll Dough
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. chopped basil
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Sea salt
1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Roll out the crescent dough into a rectangle on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Pat all the seams well and brush with the olive oil.

Spread the garlic and basil over the olive oil and finally add the zucchini and mozzarella over entire surface. Sprinkle with the sea salt.

Fold the longest edges in, then fold one short end in. Finally, roll up very tightly (jelly roll style), making sure the seams are secure.

Brush entire surface with the beaten egg and bake for 20 - 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Garnish with a little parsley and serve with a little fruit!

Just a thought...perhaps the seamless crescent roll dough would be easier!