Monday, April 17, 2017

Rice Krispies Treat Cake

This is another crowd pleaser that can be adapted for all sorts of different holidays! In retrospect - I wish I hadn't done the white chocolate on the top, but it sure is pretty!

Adapted from a recipe I saw on the internet

12 cups of Rice Krispies
16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
1 stick of butter + butter for the pan
gel food color
white chocolate almond bark for the topping
Sprinkles or Candy for decorating if you do the topping

Generously butter your bundt pan - I used about 1 tablespoon or so off of a separate stick of butter -- and I'd recommend doing the same because mine slid right out of the pan easily. Make sure that all surfaces are completely buttered on the inside of the pan.

I split the stick of butter into 3rds --  measured 4 cups of Rice Krispies cereal -- and roughly 2 cups of mini marshmallows per "batch" -- I threw in an extra fist full of marshmallows to each of the batches.

Remember that when you invert the bundt "cake" the colors are going to come out in reverse -- so if you want a certain layer on the top -- make that color first and put it on the bottom of the bundt pan. 

Make each batch separately - in a large saucepan, melt the butter - add in the marshmallows until melted smooth - add in 2 drops of gel food color, and mix until the color is completely combined. Mix in the cereal, until combined - then spread it around the bundt pan. I used a 1/4 cup metal measuring cup and sprayed the bottom with butter flavored cooking spray -- then pressed the mixture firmly into the pan.

 Clean out the pan, and repeat for the next color. Repeat a third time. After the third color is pressed on top - set it to the side (away from any heat) for 30 minutes before turning it out onto a plate or glass cake holder.

If you choose to do the topping -- use about 1/2 of a package of white chocolate almond bark (it spreads a bit more easily than white chocolate chips) -- I had to help make the drips on the sides so that it looked a bit like a drip cake -- work quickly and add the candies or sprinkles while it is still warm enough for them to stick and adhere to the top. My son helped me with this -- we used M&M eggs for Easter -- and he followed a pattern.

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Individual No-Bake Cheesecakes

These were so wonderful that I've now decided we can make them for Easter as shown... but also you could do red, white and blue for Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Labor Day... red, white and green for Christmas... candy corn for Halloween... ombre red for Valentine's Day... whatever colors suit your fancy! The filling is white without the coloring added -- so it would really work! 

Adapted from Sugar Hero

6oz short bread cookies (I used a sleeve of Girl Scout Shortbreads)
2 TBS melted butter
1 packet unflavored gelatin
2 TBS cold water
1 lb (16 oz) cream cheese - at room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream - at room temp
1/2 cup International Delight Sweet Cream creamer - at room temp
gel food color - I used pastel for Easter
Whipped cream for garnish
Candy or sprinkles for garnish

Make sure that a couple hours before you want to start making these -- you've pulled out your cream cheese and both types of cream so they can get to room temperature.

Place a jumbo silicone muffin pan on a baking sheet. Pulse the shortbread cookies in a food processor until they are finely crumbled OR you can put them in a large baggie and use a rolling pin to crush them up finely. Mix them with your melted butter in a small bowl.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon divide the crumb mixture in the cavities of the muffin pan evenly. (it was about 2 scoops per cup for mine) Press firmly into the bottom of each portion of the pan to form your crust. I used a small medicine cup from a children's nyquil bottle -- it needs to be the hard plastic kind for it to work.

Place the cold water in a separate small bowl and pour the gelatin on top. Mix it together and then let it sit to the side until you're ready to use it.

Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (a hand mixer could also be used) - using the paddle attachment - beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy without any left over lumps. Make sure you scrape the bowl completely and mix again before adding anything else.

Add in the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla bean paste, and salt - mix well - scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl well.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the cream and creamer, mixing until everything is smooth. I put both of mine into the same measuring cup to come up to room temp - so I just poured in a 1/4 of the mixture at a time.

Finally, microwave the gelatin mixture for about 10-15 seconds until it is liquid again. Mix it for just a little bit, and then finish mixing it by hand to make sure you've scraped the sides and gotten everything mixed well.

Divide the cheesecake mixture by the number of colors you will be adding -- for Easter, I did 4 -- but for other holidays adjust accordingly. Stir in 1-2 drops of food coloring into each bowl and mix until the color is mixed in completely. (I used 2)

Using the same medium sized cookie scoop (again mine was 2 scoops per color) - you could also pipe in the colors if that make it easier for you. Place the scoops in the middle and spread outwardly with a spoon - I made sure that each color touched the sides of the pan all the way around each cup before adding in the next color.

Repeat with the remaining colors - layering until you've finished with all of the colors. Place the pan that is sitting on the sheet pan into the freezer for at least 2 hours. I did 2.5 to make sure that they were good and solid. They should feel solid to the touch before you try to unmold them.

To unmold - press up from the bottom of the pan, and turn it upside down - pushing the cake into your hand. We put ours in a rectangular 13x9 cake pan with a lid - and allowed them to sit in the refrigerator until time to be served the next day. You at least want them to have 30 minutes between the time you remove them from the molds and the time you're planning to serve them so that they aren't frozen. They can sit in the refrigerator for several days if you'd like to make them in advance.

To decorate - top with whipped cream (I used rediwhip so that it was fresh and looked pretty) & a pinch of sprinkles or candy. I used egg shaped M&Ms for our Easter version.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Bite-Sized S'Mores

Bite-Sized S'Mores

48 Pretzel Chips
2 Hershey's Bars (broken into 24 pieces)
96 mini marshmallows (4 per pretzel)

- Lay out 24 pretzel chips (I only used the whole ones, not broken pieces)

- Preheat broiler to high -- I moved my rack down a little bit because I burned my first attempt.

- Place 4 marshmallows on each pretzel, and stick it in the oven for 2-3 minutes (watch them because you want to make sure the marshmallows & pretzels don't burn -- ask me how I know.)

- Place a Hershey chocolate piece on each pretzel on top of the marshmallows. Place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes so the chocolate will melt. We turned off our broiler for this step and just used the residual heat.

- Place a second pretzel chip on top of the chocolate.

- Enjoy them all warm or put them in the fridge to chill.

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Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Dipping Sauce

Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Dipping Sauce


1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp sherry wine
2 tsp water
2 tsp soy sauce

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, diced small
5 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
1 tsp minced or grated fresh ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup green onions, minced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, minced
1 (8 oz) can bamboo shoots, minced
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, diced (I found a can of them diced already)
1 (6 oz) package Chinese cellophane noodles, cooked to pkg directions (left these out)

Cooking Sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sherry wine
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

1 head of iceberg lettuce

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp hot mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp red chile paste

-- To make the dipping sauce, we put it all in a mason jar and shook it up.

-- Mix the cooking sauce and set it aside.

-- Mince your chicken into small pieces, and add a bit of salt & pepper... then pour on the marinade and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.

-- Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tbsp oil; add chicken and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set the chicken aside.

-- Add 2 tbsp oil to the pan. Add ginger, garlic, and onion - stir-fry for a minute or two.

-- Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts to the pan and stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes.

-- Return chicken to the pan. Add mixed cooking sauce to the pan. Cook until thickened and hot.

-- Break cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces to cover the bottom of a serving dish with them, then pour the chicken mixture on top of the noodles.

-- Serve along with lettuce leaves for everyone to serve themselves.

-- Spoon chicken mixture into the lettuce leaf and roll (like a burrito) individually. 
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Charleston Cheese Dip

Charleston Cheese Dip
Courtesy: Trisha Yearwood & Food Network

1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 dash cayenne pepper (I leave this out)
8 Ritz crackers, crushed
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (we used 4)
Corn Chips, Crackers, Bagel Chips, or Pretzel Chips for dipping

-- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

-- In a medium bowl; mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar, monterey jack, green onions, and cayenne pepper.

-- Transfer mixture to a shallow baking dish, such as a 9 inch pie pan. Top with the cracker crumbs and bake until heated through - about 15 minutes.

-- Remove the pain from the oven, and top with the bacon. Serve immediately with the crackers, chips, or pretzels you've chosen.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Breakfast Quesadillas

Breakfast Quesadillas
2 servings

4 flour tortillas
3 eggs
a splash of half and half
salt & pepper
4 slices of bacon
4 slices of cheddar

I chopped my bacon and cooked it in a pan the night before. The morning of making these, I scrambled the eggs with the half and half, salt, and pepper. Then I buttered the tops of the flour tortillas -- I made these in my panini press -- so adjust your cooking style as needed.

I placed one tortilla butter side down on the panini press - topped it with one slice of Sargento cheddar cheese, half of the eggs, half of the bacon, another slice of cheese, and then another tortilla with the butter side facing the top. I made two of them so I did it all over again.

I waited until they cooled for about 3 minutes and then took a pizza cutter or a large chef's knife to cut them into 4 equal pieces. I served it with some sliced strawberries -- any fruit would be fine -- and my kids thought they were getting a real breakfast treat!
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Roasted Zucchini and Grape Tomatoes

Roasted Zucchini & Grape Tomatoes

This is more of a method rather than an exact recipe... I was making this for just John and I -- so I only used a small amount, but adjust as needed for the number of people.

For 2:

1-2 Zucchini, halved and sliced
1/2 pint Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half
Olive Oil
Minced Garlic
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/4-1/2 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix the zucchini and grape tomatoes along with the olive oil, garlic, and Italian Seasoning. Mix until everything is coated in the spices and oil. Place vegetables in a casserole dish and sprinkle the top with the freshly grated Parmesan. Roast for 20-25 minutes or so -- until the vegetables become soft, but not mushy.

You could try this same method with other vegetables as well -- we love roasted broccoli and yellow squash. I've also thought about trying fresh green beans as well.
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