Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oreo Truffles

This recipe is as easy to make as they are delicious. I bring these to many holiday parties and yet somehow I never end up bringing any home. Hmm...

Oreo Truffles

1 package Oreos (for Christmas try mint ones!)
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
2 packages (16 oz total) semi-sweet Bakers chocolate, melted

Smash up the Oreos into crumbled pieces in your favorite fashion. I've used a blender, a rolling pin, a potato smasher, a hammer, and a fork. It's fun just whacking the daylights out of cookies. Add the softened cream cheese to the crumbs and mix together thoroughly.

Roll into 1 inch balls and dip these in the melted chocolate. Place onto wax paper to cool. Refrigerate leftovers.

Meatball Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a rustic stew from France that's traditionally made using white beans and a variety of meats. Work-saving frozen meatballs and a crock pot make this version extra easy! Navy or cannelli (white kidney) beans are tasty options as well. I used chick peas because that's what I had on hand and that's what my family likes.

Meatball Cassoulet

2 15 oz cans Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable or tomato juice
12 oz frozen cooked Italian meatballs, thawed
8 oz cooked smoked turkey Polish sausage, sliced (Jennie O's is my favorite)
1 finely chopped carrot
1 finely chopped celery stalk
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika

Combine all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low 8-9 hours or high 4-5 hours.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chocolate Toffee Pie

This entry will not have a photo because the pie was devoured in minutes by some of my great friends. And since I did not wish to cut the pie, take out a piece, photograph it, and then put it back before taking it to a party, ahem. You're just going to have to use your imagination. My recipe is an offshoot of one by Kraft. That one utilizes pecans but I know quite a few of my friends either have nut allergies or do not care for the taste of them. But you can check out the pictures over there and they look deliciously similar!

Chocolate Toffee Pie

3 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 oreo pastry shell
2 3 oz packages of instant chocolate pudding
2 cups of 2% milk
1 tub of cool whip, thawed
desired amount of toffee

In a small sauce pan melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and add the condensed milk. Pour the mixture over the pastry shell. Layer your desired amount of toffee over this. I usually do about 3-4 oz.

In a mixing bowl add the pudding mix and the milk and whip for about 2 minutes. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of this over the toffee. Mix half of the Cool Whip with the remaining pudding and put that on top.

Finally top all of that with the remaining half of the Cool Whip. If you want to get all fancy shave some chocolate strips or garnish with more toffee.

AND! the best part of making this, besides my friends delightful reaction was the endless Cool Whip laughs around our house.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cranberry Orange Muffins

The first Sunday of every month I am on our church's baking team, where I am to bring 10 dozen mini muffins to church to help feed the goers. Here is half of what I made (the other being boring banana nut muffins)

Cranberry Orange Muffins

1 cup dried cranberries (or craisins, or cherries!)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus up to 1 tablespoon for topping, if desired
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Remove berries from the heat, and set aside to cool and plump. Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.

Line muffin tins with papers or lightly brush a tin with butter. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, orange zest, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Fold in the cranberries. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a rack. Serve warm.

Potato Soup with Ham

Each year my brother and I lovingly squabble over who gets to take home the Thanksgiving ham bone so we can transform it into some delicious soup. This year was my year and here is what I made. Sorry no photo. The broth wouldn't look right when I photographed it! So rather than an unappetizing photo, better none at all :) I made a double batch of this!

Potato Soup with Ham

2 cups red potatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons flour
cayenne pepper
black pepper
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked, cubed ham
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
fresh chopped parsley or chives for garnish, if desire

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain; reserve 1 cup of the liquid.Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until tender. Stir in flour; season with red and black pepper. Cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring. Add potatoes, reserved liquid, milk, and salt; stir well. Add ham; simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add cheese; stir until melted. Top with fresh parsley or chives, if desired.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a bowl
mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, and oil. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cherry Cobbler

My tastes border on fanatical when it comes to cherries. I have yet to find a setting where I do not gravitate & salivate over these little red fruits. This combines my favorite fruit with, in my opinion, a cold weather staple, cobbler.

Cherry Cobbler

2 cups pitted sour cherries
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

crisp topping:

1/2 cup walnut bits

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp chilled butter, cut into bits

1 cup rolled oats

1 egg white

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place cherries into the bowl, and toss with the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour. Distribute the cherry mixture evenly over the bottom of a greased 9 X 13 inch dish.

In another bowl combine the remaining ingredients and toss. Then pour over cherry mixture.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes.