Tag Archives: Oven

S’more Brownies

29 Sep

Just spent the last 2 weeks slaving over nine, rather complicated, Shakespearean costumes. Loved it…but I almost went insane. As did my puppy, who was abandoned outside the whole time because I simply could not sew and watch his every move at the same time (he’s a chewer). But don’t you worry, he was able to find ample entertainment. Our drip system will have to be replaced and a few plants have now been replanted about 10 times each. Not sure my husband is happy that I sacrificed the back yard :), but hopefully he’ll forgive the dog…and me.

Here’s my peace offering:

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Ingredients:

  • 14 full graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • one batch of your favorite brownie recipe (boxed or homemade, make as directed but do not bake)
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

First make the graham cracker crust. Put 10 of the graham cracker and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs.  Add butter and mix until combined. Press into the bottom of a 9×12 pan and bake at 350  for 9-10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from over and let cool for 10 minutes.

Pour on the brownie batter and cook for another 20-25 minutes until almost set.

While baking, crush the remaining graham crackers by hand and combine with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Scatter mix over the brownies and cook for 5-8 minutes until marshmallows are melted and slightly toasted.

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http://bloomdesignsonline.com/2014/01/make-it-monday-brownie-smores.html

Empanadas de Jamon y Queso (Ham & Cheese Empanadas)

10 Jun

 

My daughter’s class at school got to earn ‘trips’ this year. They went to Florida, Italy, and…a few other places that now I can’t remember, and she’s gone to bed so I can’t ask! The point being: My husband took the class on a ‘trip’ to Peru. He served a mission there for the LDS church for two years, so he got to show off some of his souvenirs, share pictures, teach a little Spanish, and treat the kids to some of the things Peruvians eat. We joked about having him bring one of our pet guinea pigs in and offer to cook him up for the class. 🙂 We thought we were pretty funny,. But kids never really laugh when they find out that that is as common as chicken down there. The usual reaction is horror – we decided to keep the guinea pigs home.

So, if you are in the mood for some authentic Peruvian and don’t have a large, hairy rodent handy or have children that may frown upon you poaching their pets, whip up one of these pretty darn awesome empanadas. I think the smoked gouda is what really takes these a few giant leaps up from a hot pocket – that, and the fact that they are homemade and not stuffed full of preservatives. They are a little cheater because you use puff pastry dough instead of making your own, but if you don’t tell, I won’t.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (smoked gouda, edam, or similar)
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 pound deli ham
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in saucepan on medium-low heat. Whisk flour into butter, and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Whisk milk into flour/butter mixture and bring to boil, stirring. Sauce will thicken slightly. Whisk 2 eggs into mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 -2 minutes more or until sauce has thickened. Add grated cheese and parmesan and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry dough on a floured surface to 12 inches square. With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 12 3 x 4 inch rectangles. Mix egg yolk with water, and brush the edges of half of the rectangles with the egg yolk mixture. Place a piece of ham in the center of the rectangles brushed with egg yolk. There should be an edge of dough all around the ham. Top ham with 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Cover the ham and cheese with one of the plain rectangles, and firmly press down around the edges to seal. Repeat with other sheet of puff pastry. Pastries may be frozen at this point, or kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours before baking. Prick the top of the empanadas several times with a fork, and brush tops lightly with the egg yolk mixture. Bake 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot.

 

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Original recipe: http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/snacksstreetfood/r/empanadascheese.htm

 

Candy Apple Pie

15 Mar

Happy Pi Day! I had a friend suggest that since this month is 3/14, it should really technically be Pi Month…I do not disagreed.

My husband’s work decided to celebrate Pi Day with, well, a pie party – naturally. Everyone was supposed to bring a pie to share. He sent me a text: “I want to win the ‘this is not a competition’ competition.” Challenge accepted!!! After the verdict was in, I asked how we fared compared to the other pies and he declared ours the unofficial winner, because it was the only one that people kept coming up for seconds of. I actually haven’t even tasted this pie because, even though I requested that he save me a piece, all that came home was an empty pie tin! But, there are three good reasons why I know it must taste pretty darn good. One: It smelled incredible while baking. Two: Mine was the only pie to be completely devoured. Three: My husband ate an entire slice (this is the crowning glory because he doesn’t really like pie in general, and I have never seen him voluntarily eat apple pie). Sounds like a winner to me. Hopefully I have an excuse to make it again soon because I would really like to test my theory. 😉

**UPDATE**

I can now add one more reason to why I know this pie tastes good. Four: I got to taste it! 🙂 I actually made two  pies, one for Hubby’s work, and one for my sweet neighbor who’s family has had a rough week. I mentioned to her that I hoped it tasted good since it was a new recipe, so, when she returned my pie tin today, she included a slice for me to taste-test. Better late than never! And now I know for a fact that this pie is delicious. It is a caramel candied apple. Yum!!

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Ingredients:

Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 cup chopped pecans

Apple Filling:
5 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, sliced very thin) *Or any firm apple that holds up well during baking (I used Honeycrisp)
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cream Cheese Topping:

8 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
Topping:
3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well and press into a 10-inch pie plate and up the sides. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until golden in color. Remove pie shell from oven and cool completely. Pour caramel into pie shell and sprinkle with 1 cup of chopped pecans. Refrigerate pie shell while making apple filling.

3. In a large (12-inch) skilet over medium heat, melt butter and add brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add apples and stir. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes until apples are softened and tender. Let cool for 10 minutes and pour into pie shell. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.

4. In a medium bowl, using a hand-held mixer on low speed, combine cream cheese and sugar for about 1 minute until smooth. Add egg, lemon juice and vanilla and beat for 1 minute or until fully blended. Pour over apple filling in pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes until an inserted knife comes out clean. Remove pie from oven and let cool. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Let stand outside the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. Top with whipped cream, caramel and pecans, and swirl with a knife. Slice and serve.

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Original recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/-best-pie-bakeoff-2008-entry-1-10-69632

Chocolate Chip Cookies

6 Feb

I’ve had a terrible hankering for chocolate chip cookies lately. I love the recipe on the back of the Tollhouse Chocolate Chips, but they turn into hockey pucks if you don’t eat them quickly. I made these cookies 4 or 5 days ago, and they are still soft! Hooray!!! My kind of cookie.photo 2

 

Ingredients

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups)  butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 pounds chocolate chips

Instructions

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add eggs. Stir in vanilla. Reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

*I didn’t have cake flour, so I just used all purpose flour – you can substitute the bread flour for all purpose as well, but it does help the cookies stay soft longer. I also did not refrigerate the dough for 24 hours. I only put it in for about 1/2 hour, and they still turned out great.

 

Original recipe: http://iambaker.net/chocolate-chip-cookies/

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

25 Nov

My parents and my husband’s parents both live nearby; this means two Thanksgiving dinners. No complaining here! We had our first one last night, and I ate myself sick. So many good things to eat, not enough room for it all! But I did my best to fill every crevice of my stomach…over-flowing, I’m sure, into other organs as well. All in the name of good food.

This chicken wasn’t on the menu for our Thanksgiving feast, but it might make it next year! Who knew ridiculously tender chicken only required 4 ingredients?

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Ingredients

1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

4 chicken breast

4 tsp seasoned bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven 425^ F. Place mayo and cheese in a small bowl and mix. Lay chicken breasts in baking dish and spread mayo mixture evenly atop each. Evenly sprinkle bread crumbs atop each. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly and juices run clear.

*Original recipe found here: http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/60027340/parmesan-crusted-chicken-hellmanns-mayo-recipe/

Fruit Leather

2 Oct

One of the local grocery stores was selling flats of strawberries for $3.88 – that’s 8 of those little containers (I should know the volume, but I don’t) for less than $4!! Couldn’t pass that up! But I also couldn’t eat all of them before they went bad. 🙂 So, we opted to try to make our own fruit leather. I was frustrated at first because I couldn’t find a recipe with real instructions. They are all kind of like, “add some fruit, add some sweetener, add whatever flavor you want…” I’m not good at making things up. I need a recipe unless I’ve been making it for at least ten years – these are the rules. However, it turns out that there just isn’t a concrete recipe for fruit leather. You have to be a little flexible. Deep breath.

I made a strawberry batch and a strawberry banana batch – both were really good. I just got some raspberries and peaches and I’m going to try a few more concoctions…no recipe and all. I’m so brave. I was planning on using these for my daughter’s lunches and after-school snacks, but my husband took most of them to work with him for his snacks. 🙂 That works too!

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Ingredients:

2 1/2 – 3 cups fruit, diced

2 tsp lemon juice

spices and/or extracts to taste (optional)

honey, sugar, or agave to taste

Preheat oven to lowest temperature (mine is 170^F). Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap of silicone baking mat (don’t use foil or waxed paper). The plastic wrap will shrink in the oven, so leave the edges loose.

Puree fruit and lemon juice in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add sweetener to taste and any other spices/extracts you desire. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread as evenly as possible to about 1/4 inch thick (the puree will shrink a little so don’t spread it all the way to the edges). Place in oven and bake 6-8 hours or until center is not tacky. Remove from oven, let cool to room temperature, and peel off baking sheet. Cut into strips and roll in wax paper or plastic wrap. Store in air-tight container.

*Tip: If your fruit leather comes out too hard and cracks instead of peeling off of your cooking sheet, brush it with water then return it to the oven for another 10 min or so – it will soften right up!

Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake

16 Sep

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. I’m no expert cake decorator, but I have a lot of fun doing my kids’ birthday cakes. I don’t do plain boxed cake mixes because birthdays are a special occasion! And when else do you have the excuse to make something fancy? But I don’t ever get too fancy – fondant scares me. I get creative and use cupcakes, rice crispies, twinkies, and my favorite – starbursts. 🙂

This year, my daughter wanted a cheesecake. I’ve never made a cheesecake before, and my favorite part of birthday cakes is coming up with a fun way to decorate – how do you decorate a cheesecake? “With a mouse,” she said. A mouse? Of course a mouse…it’s a ‘cheese’cake. 🙂 Love it.

So, I learned a few things with my first cheesecake: First, do not start making it at 10:30 pm. You won’t get to bed until 2 am. Second, after baking you have to prop open the oven and let the cheesecake cool inside – do a toothpick test to make sure it is cooked through before doing that. You may end up with an un-cooked center and not find out until your cheesecake is cooled and it’s too late to do anything about it. Third, make your cheesecake at least a day in advance. The flavor is better if you let it sit for a full 24 hours.

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Ingredients:

Crust:

1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
3/4 cup finely chopped vanilla wafers
2 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
16 ounces sour cream
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions:

Crust Directions:

1. Mix all nuts and vanilla wafer crumbs with melted butter and press into a 9 inch buttered springform pan, trying to line the sides as much as possible about 1 1/2″ up the sides of the pan, set aside.

Cheesecake Directions:

1. All the filling ingredients should be at room temperature.

2. Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy with an electric mixer set on low (keep the setting at low during the entire mixing process).

3. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy.

4. Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg.

5. Add flour, vanilla and lemon juice, mix well.

6. Add the sour cream and beat well.

7. Pour cream cheese mixture into the springform pan.

8. Place on the top rack in the middle of a 325 degree F preheated oven for one hour and 15 minutes.

9. When time is up turn oven off, prop open oven door and leave in oven for one hour.

10. Remove from oven and let cool then refrigerate for 24 hours.

Original recipe found here: http://www.momswhothink.com/cheesecake-recipes/cheesecake-factory-recipe.html

Here is my final product! I added yellow food coloring to make it look more ‘cheesy,’ and the mouse is make of starburst that I colored with food coloring and warmed to make it malleable. It turned out cute!

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**The crust recipe below is for those who prefer a crust without nuts**

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup melted margarine

Directions:

1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix in melted margarine.

2. Press the crumb into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and side with parchment paper.

3. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3 the way up the side.

4. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done.