Friday, November 28, 2008

Apple Squares....

Next to pumpkin rolls, these are probably my favorite dessert. My AWESOME grandma who is an AMAZING cook made these for Thanksgiving and was so kind as to email me the recipe. Sigh. I love my Grandma. Grandma, of course, makes her own pastry. Because thats what Grandmas do. I am sure you can use premade pastry and it will still be delightful, (and a whole heck of a lot easier) but if you want to make it PERFECT, Grandmas pastry recipe is included! Enjoy, and thanks Grandma!

Joan Cramer
This is my own recipe for a 2 crust pie
2c flour
2/3c Crisco shortening
2Tbs butter
dash salt

using pastry cutter (or hands, yuk) cut shortening, butter and salt into flour,until mixture resembles tiny peas, sprinkle 5Tbs ice water, (1Tbs at a time,) tossing with fork,until all flour is moistened and pastry cleans side of bowl...gently form a ball..divide and flatten into round, wrap individually (wax paper) and place in frig. for 30mins. for apple squares in this size pan (jelly roll) you will need to double recipe,divide into 4 portions (easier to work with)

Apple Squares
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 c all purpose flour
1tsp nutmeg
1tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
8 cups thinly sliced pared apples (I used 4 granny smith and 4 yellow)
2-3 Tbs butter or margarine
3/4 c powered sugar and about 1Tbs milk (icing)

heat oven to 425 degrees

On floured board, roll 1 round into rectangle, place in ungreased jelly roll pan, covering half, repeat for other half, this is the bottom layer...(overlapping seams)

in small bowl, mix sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon and salt.......stir into apples... (when I'm preparing the apples, I use lemon juice on the cut-up apples, this prevents them from turning brown)

pour into pastry lined pan, dot with butter or marg. cover with other 2 sections of pastry.. crimp edges..make a few slits in crusts for steam to escape..

Bake 35 to 40 mins. until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slightly..mix powered sugar and milk to desired consistency and drizzle over crust...cut into 3inch squares


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Meat

The pictures aren't great but the food is.
This meat makes a ton. My mom froze half of it and said it worked really well. Super easy, makes a lot and tastes great...perfect when you're having a get together.
4 lbs. of chicken or pork thawed or frozen (you can throw the chicken in still frozen)
1/4 c. chili powder
2 cans chopped green chiles (4 oz. cans)
salt to tast (about 1 1/2 tsp.)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp. taco seasoning
2 tsp minced garlic (either fresh or dried)
about 2 TB water (you can add more if it starts to look dry)
1/2 c. sour cream
Stir ingredients in a bowl and cover meat in crock-pot.
Cook on low 8-10 hours

Monday, November 24, 2008

Peppermint Bark

So, if you haven't figured it out by now- I have been preparing lots of fun holiday treats. Here is one more. I recently paid for this yummy treat at "Harry and David" until I realized how easy it is to make- seriously- don't ever pay for it again! It really is this simple and is the same thing!! (Read the ingredients and you will see!) Very Yummy!!

1 1/2- 2 bags semi-sweet (or dark) chocolate chips
1 1/2-2 bags white chocolate chips
4-6 candy canes crushed

1) In a double boiler (or a small pot on top of another small pot with water in the bottom pot) melt semi sweet chocolate chips in the top pot. Place a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Spread chocolate evenly over wax paper. Place in freezer.

2) While the semi sweet chocolate is in the freezer, melt the white chocolate chips the same way. Crush the candy canes. Place a strainer over top of melted white chocolate and put melted candy canes in strainer, allowing tiny pieces fall through into melted white chocolate-stir.

3) Remove semi sweet chocolate from freezer and spread white chocolate on top- do quickly or the semi sweet will start to melt and they will mix and not be as pretty. Once it is spread evenly, sprinkle larger pieces of candy canes on top. Place back in freezer, or refrigerator until hardened. Take out and break into jagged pieces. (May be easier if closer to room temp when you break it up)

**Note** I found some who said they liked to add a little peppermint flavoring into the semi sweet chocolate part. If you really like a lot of mint flavor, you may want to put a tiny amount in. I did one with the flavoring and, for me personally, it was a little too "toothpasty" but maybe I put in too much. So, the next I did without the extra flavoring (so, as directed above) and it was perfect.

Friday, November 21, 2008


For those of you not from Ohio, today is a BIG day! Today is the day The Ohio State Buckeyes will beat Michigan U again! In honor of that, I will post the recipe for buckeyes. A buckeye is actually a nut from a buckeye tree that is poisonous to humans, but delicious to squirrels and other animals. However, this chocolate/peanut butter version is sinful yet heavenly!!!

This makes a large amount- about 150. It can easily be scales down to make fewer. I always make a lot and give them as Christmas gifts to teachers, neighbors, etc.

3 pounds Powdered Sugar
2 pounds Peanut Butter
1 pound Butter

3 bags milk chocolate chips
1/4 bar of gulf wax- shaved

1) In a large bowl combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter. Mix well. Honestly, mixing with your hands will work best. You can tweak the ingredients here as desired. If it seems a bit dry, add more butter/peanut butter. If it seems to wet or if you want it sweeter, add more powdered sugar. But, usually, the above ratio works great.

2) Roll into one inch balls. Place on wax paper on a cookie sheet. Place in refrigerator or freezer until firm.

3) Meanwhile, in a double boiler (or one pan on top of another pan- the bottom pan filled with water) melt the chocolate chips and wax together

4) Remove peanut butter balls from fridge. Using a toothpick, dip into chocolate one at a time, leaving a small amount of peanut butter exposed on the top (to resemble the actual nut- see picture above. Return to wax paper. After I dip them, I go through and pinch closed the holes I made with the tooth picks so they look smooth.

5) Refrigerate or freeze until firm. Serve immediately, or refrigerate of freeze until you want to serve them or give as a gift.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yummy and Easy Chicken....

Dip boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs) in plain yogurt. Roll in dressing crumbs. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes. Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Peppermint Fudge Cookie Sandwiches

This is a Pampered Chef recipe that I practiced the other day because I will be preparing it at an upcoming party (I am a consultant). It was very easy and fast. Believe it or not- start to finish in about 30 minutes! Very yummy- definitely better when warm when the peppermint patty is melted into it a bit, but good otherwise as well!

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
2 candy canes or 8-10 peppermint hard candies-crushed
1/4 cup white or semi-sweet chocolate chips
10-12 mini foil-wrapped peppermint patties, unwrapped

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine chocolate chips and butter in a bowl and microwave on high 40-60 seconds until smooth, stirring after each 20 second interval. Add sugar and egg to the mixture and mix until well blended. Add flour and mix just until flour is incorporated. Using a small scoop (or teaspoon) drop 20-24 level scoops of batter onto parchment paper in pan about 1 in. apart. Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are set. Do not overbake.

2) Meanwhile, place candy canes in a resealable plastic bag; crush with meat tenderizer or rolling pin. Place white chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl and cook in microwave on high 30-60 sec. or until melted and smooth, stirring once. Set aside.

3) Remove sheet pan from oven. Immediately turn over half the cookies; top with peppermint patties and remaining cookies to form 10-12 sandwiches. Drizzle white chocolate over cookies and immediately sprinkle with crushed candies.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu....

My sister made this for me while I was visiting her in Utah... it was so yummy! So, tonight I made it for my family. It was so easy and very tasty. Definately one to keep!

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I used chicken thighs)
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

**I only cooked four chicken thighs, but kept the sauce the same so that we had plenty for our mashed potatoes as well!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup....

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

2 Tbs. vegetable oil
4 cloves crushed garlic
4 Tbs. green onions—chopped
1 stalk lemon grass-cut in 2 in. lengths
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp red curry paste (found in asian markets)
1 green chile, finely chopped with seeds removed (I use can diced green chilies)
4 Kaffir Lime leaves (optional, found in asian markets)
1-1 in piece dried galangal root (found in asian market)
3 cups water
1 lb uncooked chicken breast –finely sliced
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 can coconut milk (14 oz)
¼ cup fish sauce
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
6 Tbs fresh cilantro (optional)-chopped

Stir-fry for 2 minutes in the oil: garlic, onions, lemon grass, pepper, red curry paste, green chilies, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal root.

After stir-frying for 2 minutes, add the 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lightly coat sliced chicken with cornstarch and add to soup. Cook 4 minutes.

Add coconut milk, fish sauce and lime juice and simmer 2 more minutes. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

*my sister and her husband recently made this for me. Kevin added a little too much lime and so it was really sour but I could taste the goodness. I am excited to make this for my hubby, he will really enjoy it.