March 31, 2016

Cherry Delight




This is another request for Easter dinner.  This is a family favorite.  I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like "Cherry Delight".

This is a recipe that's been around "forever".  This is my mother's recipe, and my dad's favorite dessert.  So my mother requested that I bring it.  My dad won't ever eat dessert after dinner but asks me to leave a piece for him to have the next morning with his coffee!


I bought my old Corningware dish at an antique store in downtown Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  They have a lot of wonderful antique stores along Main Street as well as on Spanish Street.

If you are ever in the area, it is worth spending some time looking around.  

My grandmother always made her Four Stack dessert in her square Corningware dish, and it is the perfect size for many things!!

This dessert goes fast.  You might need to make two for a crowd.

Cherry Delight

You will need:

2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 stick of butter (melted)
1 - 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 8-ounce carton of Cool Whip
1 can of Cherry Pie Filling

How to make Cherry Delight:

Melt butter in the microwave oven.  Stir in two cups of graham cracker crumbs.

Spread in your dish and place in the refrigerator.

With a hand-held mixer or stand mixer, combine:

1 - 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 - 8-ounce Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 - 8-ounce carton of Cool Whip

Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the graham cracker crumbs.

Spread 1 can of Cherry Pie Filling on top.

Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.


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March 28, 2016

Fruit Trifle


This dessert was requested for our Family Easter Celebration, which we had on the Saturday before Easter.  

The weather was perfect, and the food was delicious. 

This easy Fruit Trifle was a hit with everyone.


So easy and so pretty.  

It is really a great summer dessert, and would definitely be great to fix when the berries are in season.

If you want to make something pretty, and your heart so desires, here's how I did it:

Fruit Trifle

1 quart of strawberries, hulled, rinsed, and sliced
1 pint of blueberries, rinsed
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1 5.4 ounce box of instant vanilla pudding
1 - 14 ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup of cold milk
1 14-ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 prepared angel food cake (I bought an angel food cake already made from the Kroger bakery)

Cut angel food cake into (approximately) one-inch cubes.  You are going to make three layers.

Whip Heavy Whipping Cream until thick and creamy.  Whip in 1/4  cup of sugar.  Set in refrigerator.

With a handheld mixer, mix together instant vanilla pudding, milk, and sweetened condensed milk until mixed well and thick.

Fold cream into pudding.

Begin layers by placing one-third of angel food cake cubes into the bottom of a trifle bowl, layer pudding, and then fruit.   Layer two more times.  For the top of the last layer, I added one whole strawberry and sprinkled on more blueberries.

Serve to family and friends!!



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March 23, 2016

Brownies




Two of my favorite desserts are chocolate chip cookies and brownies.   


I was in the mood for something chocolate; so I pulled out my recipe for brownies but adapted it a bit to try to get a more dense brownie -- a less cake-like brownie.


I would say these brownies turned out somewhere in between.  



I iced them with a yummy icing and decorated them with pastels candies so they'd be great to serve for Easter!

If you'd like to make them for your Easter weekend, here's how I made them:

Brownies

4-ounce box of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate (use 3 ounces of chocolate for brownies and reserve 1-ounce for the icing)
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs - room temperature
1/2 C plus 2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray with canola oil.

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat in a heavy sauce pan.  Let the chocolate cool.  Whisk flour, powder and salt together.  Set aside.  Stir sugar, eggs and vanilla into cooled chocolate and butter mixture.  Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.

Spread into prepared baking pan.  Bake at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Icing

One ounce of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 stick of butter
1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
4 Tablespoons of Half and Half 

Melt one ounce of semi sweet chocolate with 1/4 stick of butter in a heavy sauce pan over low heat.  Pour into a mixing bowl.  Add 1 cup of shifted powdered sugar.  Using an electric mixer, mix in powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and half and half to desired consistency.

Spread over cooled brownies.  Cut into even squares and decorate as desired.

Serve to family and friends!!


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March 17, 2016

Beans and Sausage


This is an easy and great recipe to make in your slow cooker.  I have made beans and sausage for years.  

When my brother was in high school, he came home from his girlfriend's house and said her mother had made this for supper, and my mother made it for us, and of course, I make it for my family, too.

The thing I like about it is you get a bite of sausage with every spoonful of beans.  And it's a nice change from Ham and Beans.

Very tasty.


It's a great meal to make for a weekday.  It takes just a little bit of  preparation.  You can soak your beans overnight.  I always do a quick soak.  I just follow the directions on the back of the bag.

I used Great Northern Beans in this recipe.  Sometimes I use Navy Beans.

After the beans have soaked and been rinsed, I pour them into my slow cooker.  I chop half of a medium size onion and add to beans.  I fry a pound of breakfast sausage.  I used mild sausage, but whatever you prefer will work fine.  If you like hot or sage, go for it!  

After frying the sausage, I pour the sausage (grease and all) -- please don't judge -- into the slow cooker along with the beans.  Cover them with water, salt and pepper to taste and cook on low all day.  If you put them on at 8 a.m., they will be ready by 4 or 5 p.m.  I turn them down on warm until we are ready to eat supper.  

I served my Beans and Sausage with Jiffy Cornbread made in a small iron skillet.

Hey, this is home cooking at its best!!

   
Beans and Sausage

1 pound breakfast sausage
10 ounces of dry Great Northern Beans
1/2 medium onion, diced
Salt and Pepper to Taste.

1.  Soak the beans according to the package directions.
2.  Dice up onion.
3.  Fry sausage in a skillet over medium heat until completely cooked.
4.  Pour beans into a slow cooker, add onion, sausage (with grease), salt and pepper.  Cover with water.  Put lid on top of slower cooker and cook on low all day.  (Approximately 8 hours.)

Serve with cornbread.
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March 14, 2016

Vanilla Cake with Sea Salt Caramel Icing




When we were in Destin last month, we shopped a lot at the Fresh Market.  I love, love that grocery store.  It is awesome.  They have a gelato that is a vanilla with sea salt caramel.  It was so creamy and delicious.

I don't eat much ice cream.  I actually rarely, rarely eat ice cream, but this gelato was truly decadent.


I decided to make a cake using the same flavors.  I used a white cake mix (Pillsbury Moist Supreme) and added one teaspoon of vanilla to the batter.

I made the caramel icing from scratch.  Wow!  It is delicious!!


I have to say the crumb on this cake was perfect.  I baked the cakes at 325 degrees F instead of 350 and kept a close eye on them.  When they were just turning a light, light golden brown, I removed them from the oven and let them set in the pans for about five minutes and then turned them out on a rack to cool.


If you like sea salt caramel, I promise you will love this cake.


Vanilla Cake with Sea Salt Caramel Icing

For the Vanilla Cake:

1 box white cake mix
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by greasing with shortening and dusting with flour, shaking out excess flour.

Make the cake according to the directions on the box substituting milk for the water and adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

(I baked by cake at 325 degrees and kept a close eye on them until they were a light, light golden brown.)

Let the cakes cool for approximately five minutes and then flip out on a rack and cool completely.

For the Sea Salt Caramel Icing:

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1 cup hot heavy whipping cream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon sea salt

Place sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan and whisk together until just moistened.  Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until mixture is golden brown.  Remove from heat.

Stir in 1/2 cup cold butter until butter melts.  (The mixture will foam.)  Add hot cream, stirring until smooth.  Set aside and let cool until slightly warm, approximately 1 hour.  Reserve 1/2 cup caramel to drizzle over finished cake.

In a large bowl, mix remaining caramel mixture and 1 cup softened butter with an electric mixer until smooth.  With mixer on low speed, gradually add confectioners' sugar beating until smooth.  Place plastic wrap on surface of frosting.  Let stand approximately 10 minutes.

Cut domes off of cake.  Place one 8-inch cake layer on the cake plate.  Frost with caramel icing.  Place the other 8-inch cake on top of frosted cake.  Frost the entire cake with Sea Salt Caramel Icing.  Drizzle reserved caramel over top of cake.  (I used some sanding sugar and sprinkled on top of cake.)

Serve to family and friends!!


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March 10, 2016

Chicken Piccata


We spent some time at Sandestin Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida in February, and we ate one evening at what is one of our favorite restaurants there, Ocean Club.  They have an Early Dining Menu, which is basically a buy one, get one.  The menu is limited, and you have to be there between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

We always go for the Early Dining Menu, and I always call ahead and make a reservation.

Their food is superb, and my favorite dish is the Chicken Picatta.

I decided to make it this week for supper, and it tasted great!  

Our test for something that is great:  is this good enough to serve to guests?  And this definitely is.

It is not difficult to make, and it is not expensive.  The only thing I wouldn't typically have on hand were the capers.


One thing we discovered while talking with other people staying in the area were the "Happy Hours", especially from people from Canada who had to deal with the fact that the exchange rate for their dollar to ours adds about 50 cents to each dollar they spend.

Besides this early dining menu, we went to happy hour at Flemings,  Cantina Laredo, and Tommy Bahamas.  

I will share my versions of my favorites from those restaurants in the near future.

I hope if you take the time to make this, is turns out to your satisfaction!!

Chicken Picatta
(for two)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper
All-purpose Flour
2 tablespoons of Butter
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 cups of Chicken Broth
1 whole lemon
1/2 cup of Heavy Cream
1 small can of mushrooms, stems and pieces
1/2 jar of capers, drained
8 ounces of Angel Hair Pasta

Pound the chicken breasts until slightly flattened.  Salt and pepper to taste and dredge in flour.

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Fry chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about five minutes on each side.  Remove chicken breasts to a paper towel lined plate.  Pour in chicken broth and squeeze lemon juice into frying pan.  Whisk the sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook the sauce until reduced by approximately half.  

Reduce heat to low and pour in cream.  Add mushrooms and capers.  Whisk together and cook until sauce thickens.

Cook angel hair pasta according to directions on the box.  I mixed the spaghetti into the skillet to soak up some sauce.  I plated the spaghetti first, placed a chicken breast on top of the spaghetti and spooned some mushrooms, capers, and a little sauce on top of the chicken breast.

Serve to family and friends!!
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March 5, 2016

Chocolate Scones


 Cudjoe was craving something chocolate, and I like to eat chocolate at least once a day!

I had bought some Tiramasu-flavored gelato at Schnuck's.  It was on clearance for $3.  What a deal.  I have never eaten a lot of ice cream.  I have never been a big fan.  But gelato is a different story.  So creamy, and the flavors are outstanding.   So we made due with that until I got back in the mood to bake.  I have been knitting - a lot - and not baking.

I know Cudjoe likes scones.  Oftentimes when we go to Panera Bread Company, he will get a scone.  Scones are something I never make at home, but I thought I would give them a try.

They turned out very good and are easy to do.


Sorry for my "baking absence", but I'm back now and will be posting with regularity.

I highly recommend these.  The best way to eat one is to pop it in the microwave oven for 15 seconds just enough to make them a little warm and the chocolate is a little gooey.  Perfect!

Chocolate Scones

(Adapted from allrecipes)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter
8 - 10 ounces of bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao.  I didn't have a full bag and would guess I had about 8 ounces left in the bag.)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large mixing bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using a box grater, grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of the grater.  Using your hands, work butter into dry mixture.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Whisk heavy whipping ream and egg in a small bowl until smooth.

Using a fork, stir wet ingredients into the flour mixture until a dough forms.  

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and form into a 7 to 8 inch circle about 3/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake until golden 14 to 15 minutes.  Cool for five minutes and serve.

(You can microwave a single scone for 15 seconds in the microwave oven to make it warm and chocolate gooey.)





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