November 30, 2009

Double Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Perfect for holiday gatherings!

Layer 1: Brownie:

¾ c. cocoa
½ tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. butter, melted
½ c. boiling water
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/3 c. butter, softened
1 1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt

Combine the cocoa and baking soda. Add the melted butter and combine, then add boiling water. Combine well, then add sugar, eggs, and butter. When combined add flour, vanilla, and salt. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool.

Layer 2: Buttercream frosting:

1/3 c. butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 drops peppermint extract
red coloring (to make frosting pink)

Spread over cooled brownies. Chill.

Layer 3: Chocolate Ganache

3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
¼ c. + 2 tbsp. heavy cream

Combine in a small bowl and microwave for 30 second intervals until smooth. Do not overheat. Immediately pour over brownies. Top with crushed peppermint candy cane. Put back in fridge for a few hours, until set.

November 27, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

(see my notes at the bottom)

1 1/2 C gingersnap crumbs (about 25-30 small cookies)
6 tbsp. real butter, melted
3 tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 C ground pecans
3 8oz blocks cream cheese
3/4 C canned pumpkin puree
8oz melted white chocolate (1 C white chocolate chips, melted)
1 C sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350. Using heavy duty foil, securely wrap the bottom and outside of your cheesecake pan. This will prevent leaks when using the water bath. For Crust: Use a food processor to crush gingersnaps. Then do pecans. Combine gingersnaps, pecans, brown sugar, and butter and stir well to combine. Press into a 9" spring form pan. Evenly spread across the bottom of pan and up the sides about 1-1 1/2 inches.

To melt chocolate, place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside. With an electric mixer beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. With the mixer running, slowly add in white chocolate in a steady stream. Pour mixture on top of the crust.

For waterbath: Place cheesecake pan inside of a larger pan. (Like a roasting pan.) The larger pan should be at least 2-3 inches in depth. Place in pre-heated oven. With a kettle or pitcher filled with hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up, or approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Bake for about 50 minutes or until set. The center should be just a tad bit jiggly still. It will finish cooking while cooling. When it's done, remove from oven and place on a rack until completely cool. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Serve with whipped cream and caramel sauce!

NOTES: Since Carson in allergic to pecans, I omitted those from the crust. I also do not have a roasting pan, so I filled a cake pan with water and placed it below the cheesecake. I don't know if that's what you're supposed to do, but I think it worked! And finally, buy "Anna's" ginger cookies (flower shaped). I bought them to decorate the top with, and they are amazing. I wish I would have done the crust with them, because the ginger snaps I bought for the crust were bland and extremely hard. I thought I was going to break my food processor.

November 24, 2009

Creamy Red Jello Salad

I don't make Jello a lot. I sort of feel like I'd be fulfilling the ultimate cliche: mormon housewife with a pyrex full of jello. But when I do make it, this one's really good. No chunks of anything. Just a great flavor.

1 large box raspbery Jello
2 c. water (boiling)
1/2 can frozen OJ concentrate
2 c. applesauce
cool whip

Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Stir in frozen concentrate and applesauce until well blended. Pour into 9x13 and set overnight (it takes forever to set up). To serve, top with cool whip and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

*Note: the original recipe was double the ingredients, and it really filled up the 9x13. It was a lot. That's why I suggest doing half and still filling a 9x13. More room for cool whip.

Grilled Zucchini

1 zucchini
Italian salad dressing (liquid)
Parmesan cheese

Slice up zucchini and put into a zip-lock or Tupperware filled with the salad dressing (enough to cover them). Put into the fridge and let sit and marinate for a few hours.
Grill up zucchini on barbecue grill flipping once until cooked.
Plate up and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

These are SOOO yummy!!

November 17, 2009

Spice Punch

5 qts water
4C sugar
6 oranges, juiced
6 lemons, juiced
1/2 large can pineapple juice
1 T cinnamon
1 t ground cloves

Place spices in a cheesecloth and tie into bundle.
Put the water and sugar in large pan.
Place spice bundle in with the water.
Bring to a boil and boil until water turns an amber color {about a half hour}
Reduce heat and add juices.
Serve hot.

**Note - this is our "cure-all" for a cold. It works magic. Its smell also puts Scentsy to shame :) It's out of this world yummy, cozy, and perfect. -Chandie

November 9, 2009

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 C sugar
2/3 C pumpkin
1 t lemon juice
3/4 C flour
1 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt

1 C powdered sugar
6 oz cream cheese
1/4 C butter
1 t vanilla

Beat eggs on high speed for 5 full minutes. Add sugar slowly while mixing. Add pumpkin and lemon juice. Mix dry ingredients together in separate bowl; fold into mixture. Grease a jelly roll pan and put wax paper over it. Grease wax paper. Pour mixture in pan and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Spread out a dish towel and sprinkle well with powdered sugar. Turn pumpkin onto the dish towel and roll up with the towel {remove wax paper}. Cool. Unroll, spread filling on top, and roll up without the towel. Cover and chill; serve with whipped cream.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

2-4 Chicken Breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
6 oz. sour cream
½ cup butter, divided
1-2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
Ritz Crackers

Cook the chicken breasts (either boil or grill). Chop up chicken into pieces and put into the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Mix together the sour cream, cream of chicken, and ¼ cup of butter, melted. Pour over the chicken. Crush 1 roll of Ritz crackers and mix with remaining ¼ cup of butter (melted) and poppy seeds. (Can crush and mix in a large Ziploc bag.) Pour crackers on top of chicken dish and bake at 350 for 30 min. Serve over rice.

November 4, 2009

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I found this recipe in the Rachael Ray magazine. I followed the recipe exactly for the cupcake, but I used a different frosting. The frosting in the magazine called for a ton of egg whites and it totally grossed me out. So I'm including the buttercream frosting I used.

Pumpkin Batter:
1 c. canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt

Beat pumpkin, eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla together. Add dry ingredients and mix.

Cheesecake Batter:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 egg white
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together for 3 minutes (I don't know why). Add egg white and vanilla and mix well.

Spray muffin liners. Layer each muffin cup with some pumpkin batter, then the cream cheese mixture, then the pumpkin batter. Bake until done, about 25 minutes, at 350 degrees. Let cool, and then frost.

Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 c. butter, softened
4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

I added about 1/4 c. brown sugar to this, then dusted the tops of each cupcake with a cinnamon/sugar mix we keep on hand for toast.

These take some work and don't make a lot (only 15), but they were really, really, yummy.

Divine Whole Wheat Bread

I've been making this bread for about 2 months now, and we love it. Original recipe found here.

3 1/2 c. hot tap water
3 tbsp. yeast
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2/3 c. oil
1 c. honey
1 c. white flour
1 1/2 tbsp. salt
12 c. whole wheat flour

Mix hot water, yeast, and evaporated milk in Bosch. Add oil, honey, and white flour. Add 6 c. whole wheat flour and mix well. Put in dough hooks and add salt and remaining flour. If dough is too sticky, add a little white flour. Spread a tiny amount of oil on your countertop and turn dough out onto it. (This makes it so much cleaner and easier to handle the dough!) Separate into 4 balls and shape into loaves. Put in pans and let rise for 1 hour in warm place (I put them on the stovetop while the oven preheats). Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Eat lots and lots while it's warm. :)

November 1, 2009

Chicken Crescents

1 can crescent rolls
1 c. cooked, shredded chicken
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. butter, softened
½ tsp. lemon pepper

Bread crumbs, or crushed up stuffing mix (from a box) is super yummy!
Combine above ingredients. Separate crescent rolls (8 pieces) and place large spoonful of chicken mixture on each roll (the small side). Roll up and tuck edges in to form a sealed ball. Roll in melted butter, then in bread crumbs. Rolling them in crushed Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoning is the best! Bake 15-20 minutes at 375. Makes 3-4 servings.

1 can cream of chicken soup
½ c. sour cream
1 tsp. lemon juice

Combine in small sauce pan and warm through. Thin with milk. Pour over crescents when done.

*I served with asparagus with balsamic butter sauce (yum!!).
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