Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rocky Road Brownies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch fine salt
Ghiardelli Brownie Mix
option: add chopped nuts
4 cups large marshmallows
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Easy Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream


2 cups 2% milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
3 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and peppermint extract until the sugar has dissolved. Color to your liking with the green food coloring.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. After about 10 minutes into the freezing, add the chocolate chips. After the ice cream has thickened, about 30 minutes later, spoon into a container, and freeze for 2 hours.

Lemon Delight


1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, with juice
1/2 cup sour cream
4 eggs

1 (3.5 ounce) package instant French vanilla pudding
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, madarin oranges with juice, sour cream and eggs until smooth and creamy. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
To make the frosting, stir together the pineapple and instant pudding mix in a medium bowl. Fold in whipped toping. Frost cooled cake.

Pineapple Upside down cake

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
20 ounces pineapple rings in juice - sliced in half
1 cup walnuts or pecans - chopped coarse
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs - separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter and brown sugar in a 13 x 9 x 3 baking pan (1/4 sheet). Arrange pineapple slices in any pattern in pan and cover with walnuts. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer beat the yolks with 3/4 cups sugar until light and creamy. Add the pineapple juice and mix slightly. Add the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whip the egg whites with 3/4 cups sugar to a soft peak. Now fold the whipped egg whites into the flour mixture and pour into the pineapple/walnut covered baking pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and invert onto serving plate. Cool completely.

Use two 9" pans instead of a 1/4 sheet pan.
Add cherries to pineapple pattern for additional color.

Pineapple Sherbet

Sherbert Ice Cream

Yield: 2 quarts

1 qt Sugar, heaping
8 oz Evaporated milk
4 Oranges, juice of
3 Lemons, juice of
1 qt Heavy cream
1 can Pineapple, small, drained
Milk, whole

Mix to dissolve sugar, evaporated milk, and juice of fruit. Add cream and pineapple. Put mixture in a 2 qt. ice cream freezer and top to line with whole milk.

Banana Bread Pudding

4 Cups French bread or croissants (1 or 2 day old) cubed into 3/4 inch pieces
1 cup sliced bananas, 1/4 inches thick
3 eggs
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 Pkg. (3.4 oz) Vanilla (cook and serve) pudding (not instant)
1 cup Milk

Toss bread cubes with melted butter, put buttered bread cubes and bananas in greased 2 quart casserole dish.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs, then add the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread and bananas.
Bake uncovered at 375 for 40 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For Sauce - follow instructions on pudding box. After it's finished cooking and still hot, add one more cup of milk to make it thin and saucy (add a touch of rum for extra flavor if desired). Pour warm sauce over bread pudding before serving.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Special K Bars

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Corn Syrup
1 1/2 cups Creamy Peanut Butter
6 cups "Special K"
2/3 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup butter scotch
Put 1 cup of sugar in a Sause pan. Add 1 cup of corn syurup in the Sause pan. Heat till almost liquid. Remove form heat and stir in 1 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter. Then Stir in 6 cups of "Special K cereal." Put in to '13 x 9' pan. Topping put 2/3 cup of chocolate chips in sause pan. Then add 2/3 cup of Butter scotch chips in to same sause pan. Heat till smooth. Remove from heat speard over Special K in pan. Let sit in Frigde for about 15 or longer

Popcorn Sweet Snack

14 cups popped popcorn
3 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups salted peanuts
1 pound white confectionary coating (almond bark)
3 Tablespoons peanut butter
In a large bowl, combine popcorn, cereal, and peanuts. In the microwave, melt coating and peanut butter, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn mixture. Stir to coat. Spread evenly on waxed paper. Allow to set for at least 2 hours. Store in airtight containers.

Chocolate Eclair's

Large box Instant Vanilla Pudding
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
pinch of salt
Frosting: 3 Tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons cocoa
2 Eggs
Mix up vanilla instant pudding per instructions on box. Refrigerate. Quickly throw away the pudding mix box as this is the only evidence that you have not slaved over the double boiler to make this fabulous recipe. Sift flour and set aside. Slowly heat the milk. Add butter and bring to boil. Add flour and salt. Stir immediately! Cook and stir the batter until it leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove from fire. Beat in eggs, one at a time - making sure each egg is fully mixed in the batter before adding the next egg. Spoon batter onto greased cookie tin making six 2" mounds. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Bake an additional 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow puffs to cool . Fill each puff with vanilla pudding by cutting a slice in the side of each puff. Carefully open the eclair and fill. Melt 3 Tablespoons butter. Stir in cocoa and add balance of ingredients for frosting. Mix well and frost each eclair. Make sure to seal the cut side of the puff used to fill eclair with the chocolate frosting. Refrigerate until served.

Berry Bread Pudding

6 slices of white bread
7 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups of sugar
3 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon powder
1/2 cup berries (your choice)
Mix together the eggs, vanilla and 1 1/4 cup of sugar in a medium size mixing bowl until sugar is dissolved. DO NOT WHIP. Add half and half and heavy cream slowly to egg mixture until well blended. Mix sugar, cinnamon powder and raisins in a small bowl. Lay white bread in a 9x13 inch deep baking pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar/raisins mixture on top. Poor liquid mixture on top, pushing bread down when it begins to float. Soak bread well. Cover pan with foil. Place on a sheet pan filled with water. Bake in a pre-heated 320 degree oven for 1 hour or until pudding is firm on top and no liquid is showing. Take out of oven, remove foil from pan. Let cool and serve.

Ambrosia Salad

2 cans of mandarin oranges, drained
1 or 2 red delicious apples, washed and diced
1 or 2 bananas sliced
1 and 1/2 to 2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 to 1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans
orange juice (enough to moisten ingredients)
Combine first six ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour in orange juice and stir until ingredients are moistened. Ambrosia may be chilled or served right away.

Chex Muddy Buddies

9 cups Chex cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Pour cereals into large bowl; set aside. In 1 quart microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine. Microwave on HIGH 1 to 11/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring after 1 minute*. Stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over cereals, stirring until all pieces are evenly coated. Pour cereal mixture into a large resealable plastic bag with powdered sugar. Seal securely and shake until all pieces are well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Stovetop: Pour cereals into large bowl; set aside. In small saucepan over low heat melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine until smooth, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Continue as indicated above. Do not use reduced-fat margarine or butter as it may cause chocolate mixture to clump and will not coat the cereal mixture evenly.

Manicotti with Sauce

Cheese Filling and Pasta

3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (or 2 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (I use the Barilla brand – apparently they are supposed to be the most similar to homemade pasta and I love them, both in this and in lasagna)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan chese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.

To assemble, pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry baking dish.

Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using soupspoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. (You should be able to fit 8 manicotti in each row, allowing all 16 to fit in the dish). Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered.

Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

The manicotti can be prepared right up until the baking step then covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

* if using shells prepare the same. boil shells until pliable then let them cool off, spoon mixture inside and cover with sauce.

Divine Spagetti Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped and divided
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 pounds hamburger (at least 90% lean)
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 14-oz. can Italian-style diced tomatoes
2 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 carton fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add 1/2 of the onions and saute until translucent and slightly browned. Add garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add beef and cook until no red is showing. Drain beef slightly. Blend up the remaining onions and red pepper in a blender or food processor until mostly smooth. Add mixture to the garlic, onions and beef and stir to combine, cooking for another minute. Add tomato paste and spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined. Add tomatoes, beef broth and sugar (and mushrooms, if using). Stir until combined and add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Fifteen minutes before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

NOTE: The sauce will seem watery at first but will reduce to perfection after simmering for an hour. I’ve let it simmer on the stove for up to three hours before with no problems.

*Freezable Meal: The finished spaghetti sauce freezes very well. I store mine in a freezer-safe container. To serve, I thaw in the refrigerator (usually about one day) and reheat over medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove.

Pineapple Cupcakes with Mango Frosting

Pineapple Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained and pureed*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tray with 24 paper liners.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer for several minutes. Add the eggs one at a time scraping down the sides of the bowl with each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture in three additions with the milk in two additions (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour) Mix until combined with each addition
Add the pineapple and mix until combined.
Fill cups about 2/3 full and bake for about 15 minutes.
* I pureed the pineapple in a food processor. I’m not a big fan of fruit chunks. Flavor yes. Chunks. Not so much.

Mango Frosting

1-2 Mangoes
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 lb box of confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cut mangoes. Instructions here.
Place mango pieces in food processor and puree enough so you have about 1/3 cup.
Beat butter and vanilla until creamy.
Add confectioner’s sugar in several additions. beating until well combined with each addition.
Add 1/2 cup of mango puree and beat until completely combined.
Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes.