Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Canada Day Potluck

Happy Canada Day! Tomorrow is July 1st, Canada Day. Since we are stuck working, we decided to have a Potluck! I am trying a new recipe, Double Chocolate Cherry cookies. Mmm. And here's the professional shot, taken from a tin of condensed milk recipes:


3 + 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 + 1/4 cups butter or margarine, softened
1 + 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 (6 oz) jars maraschino cherries (without stems) well drained and halved.

Preheat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Stir in flour mixture (dough will be stiff) Shape into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets, press sherry half into center of each cookie. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, cool.


1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (recipe recommends Eagle Brand)

In heavy sauce pan over low heat melt chocolate chips and milk. Continue cooking about 3 minutes or until mixture thickens.
Frost each cookie, covering cherry. Store leftovers loosely covered at room temperature.

Now, the good thing about these cookies is they were fairly simple to make, and they look fancy. The chocolate topping is really nice, but i found the cookie a bit bland. I only used 3 cups of flour, they were extremely dry. I ended up adding a few Tablespoons of cherry juice. I did not find the topping thicken like the recipe said it would, i was able to dip the cookies, brought back memories of working as a donut decorator :-) The recipe also stated it would make 6 dozen, i got about 4 dozen. Still quite a bit, though.

I stuck them in the fridge for now, and i am hoping they set up overnight. I am also hoping they do not melt. Since tomorrow is a holiday, i have no choice but to walk to work, buses are running few and far between, so I am hoping it will not be to hot! I plan on leaving early and checking out some of the festivities Uptown tomorrow morning i am hoping i do not end up having to buy something in the City Market for potluck!!

Well, have a happy Canada Day everyone, here's to good food and good friends!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cacciatore-style Chicken bake

What a beautiful day today was, sunny and extremely hot! I went for a walk to the City Market and picked up some chicken. I think it is time to try a new recipe! I found this one in a Kraft What's cooking magazine (Fall 2006) and the picture looked really good. I had most of the ingredients already in the cupboard, so i decided this was the recipe to try!

1 cup hot water
1 pkg (120 g) Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small each red and green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups pasta sauce

Preheat oven to 425 F. Add hot water to stuffing mix; stir until just moistened, set aside.
Place chicken, peppers and onions in 8 inch baking dish. Mix lightly. Pour pasta sauce over chicken mixture; top with prepared stuffing.
Bake 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

As it is the weekend, i had company for dinner. And we both agreed that it tasted a little bland. It seemed to be missing something. It might be that i did not use a red pepper, i could not find one. I also had to use Turkey stuffing, the store was sold out of chicken. The jar of sauce was Garlic, but that did nothing to enhance the taste. I precooked the chicken in a pan on the stove, i am a little hesitant to throw chicken into the oven in a dish and hope it comes out cooked, even if it is cut into small pieces.

I was pleasantly surprised that it came out of the oven looking almost like the photograph in the magazine. It definitely made the promised four servings. Let's hope the leftovers have a more enhanced taste. It looks delicious, but i probably will not be rushing out to make it again unless i can figure out something to make it have more flavor. But, that is how you learn, by trying something new!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cinnamon Boo Boo cookies

Last week there was a Paderno blow out sale at our local arena. Yay for a kitchen sale! My sister and I, dragging along my nephew, went to check out the kitchen wares. She bought a new measuring cup, and i got a new cookie jar. So, to celebrate a new cookie jar, we must fill it! It was a busy weekend, so i did not have time until tonight, I went through all my cook books and finally settled on a new recipe called Cinnamon boo boos.

Now, whoever wrote the recipe named it correctly and made a big boo boo. There was no liquids in the mix but one lonely egg. After adding all the ingredients, my mix looked like sand. I added about 1/4 cup milk and took this picture, still looking quite dry.

After this, i took it off the mixer and added more milk, about another 1/4 cup. I did not measure, just poured until it looked good. So here's the recipe:

1 stick butter
1 + 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
2 + 1/4 cups sifted flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon

Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg. Add spices to flour and sift into creamed mixture in three installments, mixing well after each addition. Drop by teaspoon on to a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F for about 15 minutes or until done.

These turned out really well, they taste great, crispy on the outside, chewy inside. But that is fresh from the oven, the true test will be tomorrow. I have to note, i only added 2 cups of flour. When i was measuring it out, i double and triple checked the recipe, thinking i missed something. That is a LOT of flour for having no liquids. Again, i had to add about 1/2 cup of milk. As well, i only had to cook them for about 10 minutes. The bottoms were getting a bit dark, and the tops were set, so i pulled them.

Except that they were not dipped in cinnamon sugar, these kind of remind me of snicker-doodles in the texture and taste and look. And now my new cookie jar is filled with yummy treats, hopefully to stay that way for a long time to come! Hmmm, i guess since he helped pick it out, i will have to invite my nephew to indulge. :-)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Try something new: Blueberry Buckle.

Happy Father's Day, everyone! I am going to the country for the weekend, as it is my Mom's birthday Monday as well as Father's Day. So, before i run away, i decided to have some lunch with friends and try a new recipe, Blueberry Buckle. An old fashioned dessert that came from a community cook book.

It looks absolutely delicious directly from the oven. The rest of my menu is simple, frozen hamburgers from the store and a pasta salad from a box.

So the recipe is as follows:

1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Mix together bottom ingredients, spread into an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Pour blueberries over top. Mix together second amount of sugar and flour, cinnamon, and butter. Pour over top of blueberries. Bake at 350 F for 45 to 60 minutes.

I baked it for 45 minutes, checked it and left it in for another 5. So 50 minutes altogether. I also used margarine for the topping because i usually do not have butter on hand.

It is absolutely amazing, hot or cold. Big thumbs up, this is going to turn into a favorite!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mac & Cheese and Friendship Cookies.

Thursday night, i was at a friend's house watching the Food Network, and the gent on TV was making Mac and Cheese. I have never tried making Mac & Cheese before, unless you count what comes in a box, so i decided to go for it. Sunday dinner was to be Mac & Cheese in the Crockpot!

So I am told the best Mac & Cheese has more than one kind of cheese, and at least one of those has to be something bold. The City Market has a cheese vendor, so i stopped there on my way home from work Friday night. Already in the fridge at home, i have two of my favorites, Mozzarella and Parmesan. The cheese vendor had a huge block of 4 year old cheddar, so i got him to chop a chunk of that off for me. That is my bold. As for creamy, i chose a Havarti with JalapeƱo peppers in it. Sounds good already!

So Sunday dinner is at six, i figured to start my Crockpot late because it is not an 8 hour recipe as most others are. Early afternoon rolled around and i am bored. Tired of my cross stitch, and unable to use my computer as it is working for me, i decided to bake some cookies. Again, trying something new, i found a recipe called Friendship cookies. The description promises to be a recipe that you can whip up quickly when friends are coming over, and might even make you some new friends! And they are let's go! Here is the lovely picture from the cookbook.

1 Large Egg
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 Box of chocolate cake mix (2 layer size)
1/4 cup Water
1 cup White chocolate chips.

Beat egg and cooking oil in medium bowl until combined, Add cake mix, and water. Beat just until moistened. Add chocolate chips. Mix well. Drop, using 1 Tbsp for each, about 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets, Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Let stand on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Remove cookies from sheet and place on wire racks to cool. Makes about 48 cookies.
These are absolutely divine!!! I will definitely be making these for the next potluck i go to! I had to use colored chips as that was all i had, and i used a teaspoon to drop them instead of a tablespoon. Either way, i only got about 38 cookies. For the oil, i used canola, and the cake mix was chocolate fudge. I thought the batter looked a little greasy. I used parchment, but i really do not think it would have been necessary to grease the pans had i not.

So while the cookies are baking, i start on my Mac & Cheese. I had to shred the cheddar and Havarti, the others i had bought conveniently shredded. I had a difficult time shredding the Havarti, as it was so soft, but it melted properly in the end. Now for the 'professional pic'. (I love this bowl that it shows; it has cute little handles like a pot)

6 cups cooked elbow macaroni.
2 Tbsp Butter
4 cups evaporated milk
6 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In large mixing bowl, toss macaroni with butter. Stir in evaporated milk, cheese, salt, and pepper. Place in 4 to 7 quart Crockpot. Cover, cook on High for 2 to 3 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Since i used 3 white cheeses and only 1 yellow, my Mac & cheese turned out white. I also added part of an onion to add some extra flavor, and omitted most of the salt. I salted the pasta water and then just put a sprinkle into the Crockpot. Now, after having to cook 2 batches of pasta, i figured out 6 cups of cooked is about 3 + 1/2 to 3 +3/4 cups of uncooked. After it cooked about 2 hours, i gave it a good stir. It still had quite a bit if liquid, half an hour after stirring it, i stirred again and most if the liquid had absorbed. This was a HUGE recipe. I had company, so i served 2 plates for dinner and then we each were able to take 2 large servings for our lunches this week. I think it would easily serve 8 for dinner, and 12 or more for a side.

This Mac & cheese recipe was good, for a first try. I think next time i will try a different combo of cheese, or maybe just stick with Cheddar. I will definitely be making it again, though!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Double Crockpots: Chicken & pudding

Double Crockpots equals double recipes without heating up your house, and double the YUM!

All day it rained...all week it has been raining. Before it started to downpour today, i managed to get to the City Market, my favorite place in the entire city, and pick up a 3 Lb chicken. Into the large Crockpot he goes at noon, sprinkle with Garlic and spices and cook the afternoon away while i cleaned house and organized. Yay, love ready made dinners. Here is poor Mr chicken, spiced up and ready to go.

At about 3 PM, i decided to start dessert in the small Crockpot. Pineapple Rice Pudding, a new recipe. Here is a picture of the card:

1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained.
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk.
1 can (12 oz) fat free evaporated milk.
3/4 cup uncooked arborio rice.
2 eggs, lightly beaten .
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar.
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
1/4 tsp nutmeg.
1/4 tsp salt.
Toasted coconut & pineapple slices (optional, for garnish).

Place pineapple with juice, coconut milk, evaporated milk, rice, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into 3 qt Crockpot. Mix well. Cover, cook on High 3 to 4 hours or until thickened and rice is tender.

Stir until blended. Serve warm or chilled. Top with coconut and pineapple slices if desired.

This turned out great. I am not crazy about rice pudding, but this was delicious. I prefer it hot, though. When i first mixed it, it looked kind of nasty, the coconut milk was in big chunks and the rice and sugars sunk to the bottom, but as it heated up the lumps melted away and everything blended in. I got the rice at the Bulk store, it kind of looked like barley. The coconut milk i had a hard time finding, but eventually found it in the drink isle of the grocery store. I stirred this every 1/2 hour, and after 3 hours, it was not thickening, so i turned it down to low for half an hour. Delicious!

By six o'clock, the chicken was done to! All i had to do was whip up a 2 minute packaged gravy, make a 7 minute prepackaged noodle side dish, and while they were boiling on the stove top, i threw a potato in the microwave for 6 minutes. Volia, dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes!
This was the chicken before i attempted to lift it out and it fell apart, i ended up using an over sized spatula to pull him out.

Best part about whole chicken? There is enough left for a meal tomorrow and the next day, with still more for the freezer!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Mmm, homemade meatballs. This morning i was digging through my freezer looking for something to take for my lunch, and i came across a fist size ball of hamburger, probably leftover when i did not devide the package up evenly. I usually buy family packs, and devide it into 4 or 5 balls, that way i always have meat on hand if i want to make something.

I usually do not do anything fancy to my hamburger when i make meatballs. No crackers, bread or eggs. Just plain old hamburger and some spices. Tonight i used a beef marinade spice i picked up last summer at a local craft and bake sale, and i added a bit of dried garlic. Sometimes, i will use grated Parmesan cheese, onion or green peppers. After mixing the spices in well, i roll the meat into balls and bake them in a covered dish for about half an hour. Mmm, Meatballs.

So, what to serve with the meatballs? Spaghetti of course! I have to use up the rest of my homemade pasta sauce soon, this is the perfect chance! To add flavor to the sauce, i threw some garlic butter into the bottom of a saucepan and browned some onions. After they were nicely caramelized, i added the sauce and stirred it well. Cover (important!) and let it simmer for a bit. Just before i took the sauce off, i stirred in some grated Parmesan cheese. While all this was happening, i boiled my pasta and made some garlic bread.

Garlic bread is super easy, i just spread some garlic butter on a slice of bread, bake it for about 5 minutes, then add cheese if i am craving it, and broil it for another few minutes. Watch it if it is under the broiler, it only takes half a minute to get from nicely brown and burnt crispy! You can get the garlic butter in the deli at your grocery store, or in the bulk store in the wet bucket area.

The bread turned out a little light because i put it in to late and am impatient, and the meatballs were a bit burnt because i left them in the oven after it was off to save counter space, but dinner was still delicious!

Serve the pasta, with sauce and meatballs on top. Yummy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Try something new: Coconut Macaroons.

I like to try new things, a new recipe, a new spice, a twist here, a dash there. So tonight i decided to attempt my favorite cookie of all time: coconut macaroons. I have attempted these before with different recipes, and no success.

So here's the deal: the recipe has 2 ingredients in ounces...and of those, one i bought a a bulk store, and the other is in a can with mL on it. So off to the land of the internet, i discover 14 ounces equals about 1 + 3/4 cup. And 300 mL equals about 10 ounces. Hmm. I only have one can, it is pouring rain out, and i do not want to run to the store to get another can that i will only use half of. So i dive into the recipe anyhow. Here is a picture of the recipe card, taken from a tin of Eagle Brand condensed milk recipes.

Don't they look delicious...i am drooling already. So here is the actual recipe:

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (recommended Eagle Brand)
1 egg white, whipped.
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 + 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 (14 oz) package flaked coconut.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line baking sheets with foil, grease and flour foil; set aside.

In large bowl, combine milk, egg white, vanilla, and almond extracts and coconut. Mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared pans, slightly flatten each mound with a spoon.

Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Immediately remove from baking sheets (they will stick if let to cool on sheets). Cool on wire racks. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

This states it makes about 4 dozen cookies.

So this is the concoction in the bowl. I added a lot more coconut because it was very wet, even though i was 4 oz shy of the condensed milk. I must have used between 2 +1/2 and 3 cups.

So after using a Tablespoon instead of a teaspoon to make them (i wanted to get it all on two pans), i stuck them in the oven and re-read the recipe, wondering what i may have done wrong. Well...i missed the word 'whipped' after the egg white. Oops. I suppose that could make a difference because whipped eggs are more solid than non whipped, but i am not sure. I will have to find out next time. I also used store brand condensed milk, but i can not see that as an issue.

So, 15 minutes later, here is the result: 16 big globs on my cookie sheets, attached by milk rings:

Now, i know i did not get the predicted 4 dozen because I used a bigger spoon, but 16 is a far cry from 48. The recipe creator must have made tiny cookies! I am very grateful that i used the tinfoil, even though i sprayed it instead of using the grease & flour method. I think i would never get my cookie sheets clean if i had not covered them. The first pan came off somewhat easily, i only lost one. The second, i almost had to chisel off because they had cooled, I lost 2, but managed to mash them back together. So here is the less than magnificent result:

They might look ugly, but they are delicious!! I will try this one again, i think.