Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lemon Chicken Scaloppini

A chicken dish with ZIP! The zippyness comes from lemon and marinated artichokes but is mellowed out by a lovely thick, creamy thyme sauce.

Apparently, this recipe tastes like that of the Scaloppini served at T.G.I Fridays. What BETTER way to enjoy especially yummy food without the waiting spoiling your appetite than to just make it at home! Plus-this recipe has the added benefit of shoving artichokes down a certain man's man throat. ;-)

Serves: 6 - 8

2 cups very dry white wine
1 Tbls. real butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
*a teaspoon cornstarch mixed in water to thicken-only if needed.

2 - 2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbls. olive oil
8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 t. minced garlic
2 lemons – sliced in half
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, marinated artichoke hearts
4 tsp. chopped fresh parsley OR 2 tsp. dried parsley
1 lb. box pasta. I wanted to use Fettuccine but realized I only had angel hair. :-(

-In a 2-quart saucepan, boil wine until reduced by half. Add lemon juice to pan, then whisk in butter until melted. Add 2 cups cream and simmer on low heat until thickened, stirring often. If necessary you can add some diluted cornstarch and boil until thickened. This is what I did because I am impatient! :-) Remove from heat, stir in spices, and set aside.

-Pound chicken breasts with the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a glass or in my case, a normal lumber hammer. I will say I pounded them INSIDE a ziploc bag-so you don't think I am WEIRD or anything. :-) Pound them until thin.

-Fill a large pot with water and begin to heat to boiling. Add pasta and cook until al dente.

-Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat; add chicken to pan and saut̩ on each side for 60 Р90 seconds, or until chicken is cooked through. I took the chicken out and put it on a warmed plate because my skillet was too small. If you have a large skillet-by all means, do this stuff all together!) Add mushrooms to pan and saut̩ with until mushrooms begin to soften. Squeeze juice from both lemon halves over chicken and mushrooms; pick out any seeds (Pssst. you can also use LEMON JUICE-I did). Add garlic. Add 1/2 cup cream to pan and bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in artichokes, parsley, and prepared lemon sauce; set aside (add chicken back to skillet if necessary) and keep warm.

-On individual serving plates or one large platter, swirl portions of drained pasta into “nest(s)”. Arrange chicken pieces in center of nest, pour sauce/mushrooms over and around chicken.

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These ooey gooey bars are chock full of pecans and chocolate. A yummy alternative to a 'cookie' and a nice fall treat. Plus it is a great 'helper recipe'. Helper recipes are those that work well with lots of little fingers-I had twenty pint-sized flour covered ones helping me. What makes a good helper recipe you ask? Stirring with a spoon-not an electric beater of course!
Try them-they're good!

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. cold butter

Mix flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter until coarse and crumbly. Press this mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile: mix 3 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. corn syrup
2 T. butter, melted
1 t. vanilla extract

in the bowl. Once well blended, add about

1 3/4 c. chocolate chips or chunks
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans.

Pour overtop baked crust and return pan to oven to bake for 20-25 minutes more or until set. Cool completely and cut into bars.

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These are wonderfully versatile as they can include any 'innards' that you prefer. You could have a ham and cheese stromboli, all veggie, meat and veggie, pizza topping, sausage and EGG even. You are only limited by your own imagination. This particular loaf includes a mixture of nearly all the suggestions above.

To make the dough you can do it the easy way or the 'not AS easy way'.

The easy way? Use thawed frozen bread dough.

The 'Not Quite as Easy' way: make the dough using your breadmachine.

Here is how to do version one: Go the store. Go to the freezer section. Find frozen dough. Purchase it and bring it home. Allow it to thaw on your countertop and then allow to 'rest' until it has risen just a bit.

Here is how to do version two:

Put: 6-7 oz. warm water
3/4 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 t. sugar
1 3/4 t. active dry yeast

...all in the bread machine in that order and turn on dough setting.

Regardless what method you get your dough-the following steps are the same.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out your dough-or stretch it (as I prefer doing) into a large rectangle and place on a greased and cornmeal sprinkled cookie sheet.

Now simply add whatever "toppings" you would like.

I layered mine with:

green peppers
and mozzerella cheese.

Then I sprinkled the whole thing with Italian Seasoning.

FIll it up in the center, leaving about two inches on the two long sides and one inch on the short sides. Bring the long sides up and pinch together to create a seal. Pinch the short sides together as well.

Now CAREFULLY flip the 'boli over so that the seal is underneath. Take a sharp knife and make a few shallow slashes on the top.

Place in a preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until nicely golden brown.

Some notes: The dough recipe is easily doubled so that you can make an extra 'boli for larger families or to freeze for another day.

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Caramels dipped in Dark Chocolate

Yes. I DID just post four photos of the same exact thing. I am just delighting in the memory of these gorgeous bits of caramel heaven-a long DISTANT memory.
Randi from I Have to Say inspired me to make some of these bits of deliciousness when she posted the caramel recipe to cover apples this fall. I just happened to have the recipe book that she referenced (Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook) and set to work, making my own bits of concoction.

Here it is, if you dare tempt yourself.

1 cup butter
1-16 oz. package of brown sugar (2-1/4 cups packed)
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, milk and corn syrup. Mix well. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture boils and then clip a candy thermometer to the pan and continue boiling, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees (firm-ball stage). This takes about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from heat and add vanilla.

Grease an 8x8 inch pan that is foil lined and pour the caramel in to cool.

Once cooled, with a buttered knife or buttered kitchen scissors, cut into pieces. When I did this-it was an ABSOLUTE pain in my side because I tried cutting it without it having been cooled thoroughly. Don't make my mistake. PLEASE. Your head will thank me!

Meanwhile, put about 2 cups dark chocolate chips in a double broiler and add about a teaspoon of shortning. Stir until chocolate is melted then start dipping your caramels in it. Place on wax paper to cool.

Once cool you can decorate it by putting the leftover chocolate in a ziploc baggie and cutting off the tip. Then squeeze the chocolate out and make stripes, designs or WHATEVER.

Need I even MENTION these make great gifts?!?

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Homemade Granola

Someone requested a recipe for Granola too far back for me to recall any specifics (like when or who) and it was this undescribed day that this undescribed person led me to find myself a good granola recipe.

I had never made Granola before, but that will certainly change now. This is a winning recipe in my book. I purposely did not use any peanut butter or peanuts as they seem to be hard on the Panda's belly, but if you so desire you could throw those in too. You may also want to add craisins to the mix, I didn't have any on hand so I didn't.

Without further ado :

5 c. rolled oats
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. flax
1 c. wheat germ
2 c. shredded coconut
2 T. ground cinnamon
1 c. salted sunflower seeds

Mix first 8 dried ingredients in a large bowl.

1 c. oil, canola or olive
1 1/2 c. honey

Cook and stir together in a small saucepan over medium heat the oil and honey. Pour over dry mixture and mix thoroughly. Spread out in an even layer on two cookie sheets.

Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 325, until oats and nuts are toasted. Immediately after it comes out of the oven, stir in...

1 1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
(I HAD to do it! You don't.)

Let stand until cooled and stir again to break up large clumps. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

Would you believe I have never had Spaghetti Squash before? Neither had Matt. And obviously not the children. Our whole family had been deprived of spaghetti squash our entire lives. 'Tis true, 'tis true.

So here I was, again, ready to introduce the family to something new and exciting. This time in the form of squash.

I knew the transition would be too great for Matt, the meat and potatoes farmboy that he is, if it didn't include some sort of meat so I found some kielbasa we had on hand. I imagine ground beef would be equally as tasty.

This particular version is a good mix of Pasta Primavera and stir fry. Hard to explain the taste, but I guess that is natural when the ingredients are so schizophrenic. Rather than try to explain~just see for yourself, would ya?

You'll need:

2 spaghetti squash. Cut in half lengthwise, seeds discarded.
A carrot. Shredded.
An onion. Chopped.
1/2 c. each~ red and green peppers. Diced.
1 clove garlic. Minced.
1 can Italian Style Stewed Tomatoes. Opened.
1 package Kielbasa. Sliced.
2 t. olive oil
1/2 c. frozen corn. Thawed.
1/2 t. each: salt, Oregano.
1/8 t. Thyme. Crushed.
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese. Shredded.

Place cut side of each squash up in microwave (two at a time)-cover with wax paper and microwave for 9 minutes.

Meanwhile~ Saute meat and all veggies except shredded carrot in a large skillet with oil. Add spices and shredded carrot. When mixture is heated through, add 1/4. Parmesan cheese. Cook five minutes more, until cheese is melted.

Back to the squash: once all the squash halves have been cooked...use a fork to scrape and pull up the strands of squash, making a whole for your skillet mixture. (We all liked eating them in the shell, but you could scrape all the strands of squash and put them in a different dish if you preferred.)

Spoon skillet mixture into shells (or overtop dish of squash) and then sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

And with that, tonight~you get to have an especially fun dinner!

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Fruited Pork with Apple Cider Glaze

I am not a big pork person, but it just happens to be Matt's favorite meat so I force myself to make it for him. (weirdo.)

Oftentimes I end up adding fruit of some sort to mask the flavor~this particular time I added several.

I used four bone-in pork chops~but any sort of pork would work well. Any quantity too...just add a bit more fruit to compensate.

Brown pork in a skillet, along with a T. of olive oil and a sliced onion. Add 2 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced) to the mixture and saute until not-quite tender.

Salt and pepper to taste...sprinkle a bit of nutmeg and a smidgen of cayenne pepper.

Add about 1/2 c. Apple Cider to skillet and a splash of lemon juice. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 7/8 minutes or until pork is cooked through.

Add 2 T. maple syrup and a small handful of raisins.

In a small dish, mix 1 heaping T. of cornstarch with a touch of water. Stir until 'dissolved' and put into skillet.

Raise heat and bring to boil-and then LET boil until sauce has thickened well.

Sorry about the vague amounts...I made this two weeks ago and am working off of memory. A smidge here. A splash there. Go for it~you'll be fine.

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Candied Acorn Squash

A tasty accompaniment to any autumn meal, this candied acorn squash gives you the traditional acorn squash taste in a delightfully sweet and spiced glaze.

1 medium acorn squash
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. butter
1 t. lemon juice or water
1/8 t. cinnamon

Cut squash into four rings-discarding seeds. Place rings in a single layer in a greased, shallow baking dish.

Bake, covered in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile~ combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and cook (stirring frequently) until bubbly. Spoon glaze over squash and bake another 10 minutes uncovered, or until tender making sure to baste often.

Makes four large servings, could easily feed eight if halved. It is after all, a side dish.

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Are you getting sick of Autumn treats yet?

Me, either.

Here is a treat I enjoy making each year-and I have already done so twice in the last month. Each batch makes two loaves of bread. So, you can make one for now and freeze one for later...or you can make muffins with the other half, OR you can make two 'gift loaves' to give away and keep one standard size loaves for yourself. So versatile! ;-)

You will need:

3 cups all purpose flour
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 c. cooked or canned pumpkin
1 1/4 c. veggie oil
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a seperate bowl, mix all wet ingredients-making sure the eggs are beaten nicely.
Stir into dry ingredient and mix just until moistened.

Fold in the mixture your chocolate chips.

Pour into two greased 8x4x2 inch pans, paper lined muffin tins, greased gift loaves or any combination thereof.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes (for large loaf) or until a toothpick near the center comes out clean. Keep in mind that the smaller variations require less cooking times...

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rye Dip and the Tale of Young Love

I love Rye Dip. I love the taste of it, mmmmm-it is one of my FAVORITE, rare, party treats. But I also love the memories it conjurs up. If you thought it was impossible for a food to make its way into a crevice of your heart, I beg to differ. If you would like, you can come along as I take a short little jaunt down memory lane....if you are impatient and have absolutely NO desire to hear about the sappy, juicy, pre-marriage details of my teenage soul, just skip down past the photo, where the recipe lies. Alone. No strings (or stories) attached.

I was seventeen, living with my parents still. And I knew nothing about cooking. Not one lick. I had never been taught and I was never forcibly chained to the kitchen to cook the families dinner growing up either. But, I had just met this super cute guy who had appeared out of NOWHERE in church and had fallen madly head over heels infatuated with him. But I didn't know how to cook! And I have always heard-the way to a man's heart is through his belly...

Well, if that were true, I wouldn't 'catch' anyone for quite a L-O-N-G time, given my present circumstances. Nope. And who knows how long I would have before a 'catch' like that Matt Newman would get hooked by the line of some other devious, selfish broad. I had to work fast!

It wasn't long before my opportunity came. Mom and Dad hosted a party-probably just with family, I imagine. Nothing party-ish sticks out in my head, only that one of the things that were served was rye dip. Out of a little storebought plastic deli package. Oh me, oh my. I was done for. I probably gained 10 pounds alone that night. (Back then-10 pounds would have put me at about average, so I didn't mind all that much. THEMS WAS THE DAYS!!! hehehe)

I was SO in love with that dip that I confiscated the plastic deli wrap sticker-(the one with the ingredients printed on them) and hauled my patooti up to my third floor-attic room halfway through the party. It was a room that my sister had lived in for a while. Then both my older brothers had their turn, and finally, being the youngest-I got the chance to use it. It was the largest room in the house-spanning half the length of the whole house, but with that, came sacrifices. It was also the COLDEST (and I mean FRIGID!) in winter, and SWELTERING in summer. (In fact, come to think of it, I don't EVER remember actually being COMFORTABLE when living up there....)

With each child succession, the room was given a face-lift. Always by the new tenant. When it was my turn, I painted the hunter green walls WHITE. That says alot about me. I like things BRIGHT. Always have. Being the attic, the walls were in a bizarre shape and the ceiling had such a HIGH point that my six-foot tall frame could only stand tall in the center of the room. But it was my little space. My bed, my papazon chair, my desk and my dresser. My own little abode.

So-I flew up the ridiculously steep stairwell and plopped my ten-pounds heavier derriere into the chair at my desk, looking for index cards. I couldn't find any. But I did find an empty three ring binder and some college ruled paper. (Oh my! College RULED!) Then, I settled in to try and interpret the ingredients list. I didn't know half of the words listed. But a few occasional words stuck out at me. Onion. Salt. Dill. I wrote the stuff I knew down and chalked the rest up to 'additives and unnecessary."

At the top of the first sheet of paper in my notebook I wrote: Rebecca's Recipes. I remember quite vividly, however, what my MIND was writing down as my pen only skimmed over the high points. It went something like this: "The Soon-to-be Rebecca Newmans Recipes for when she snags her man, marries him, and gets to be the Lady of the House. When all my dreams come true." Sigh. AWWWWW. Giggle Giggle.

Later on, I tested and experimented with ingredients and proportions until I finally got it right. And it was a winning recipe, prized because I had created it myself...in a twisted sort of way. But the recipe itself wasn't then and isn't now the pivotal point in the story. Oh no-the pivotal point in the story was before the recipe had even been formulated.

It was back then, in my little desk crevice, of my freezing cold-bright white, attic room, that I made the decision to try and learn how to cook. But not just cook well, but to depend on MYSELF and NOT the store to create yummies. And it was right then and there, that I started my 'Marriage Prepwork' in a notebook of recipes. That notebook of recipes STILL resides in my cupboard to this day. And this rye bread pokes its head out from time to time, too.

Did I snag the guy? Now THAT is a story for another day.... ;-) But I DEFINATELY conquered the snack!

To make this amazingly wonderful not-storebought dip, you need:

2 containers (2.25 oz. each) dried beef
About 2 cups each: mayo and sour cream
1 1/2 t. dill
3 T. minced onion

Then, mix the sour cream and mayo. Add the spices. Cut the meat into smallish pieces, or you can rip if you are a rebel. And it's that easy. HOWEVER: I would advise the reading of the following *TIPS* to really make it a success.

Tip #1-MUY IMPORTANTE!- You MUST, absolutely MUST rinse and pat dry the dried beef. That stuff is CRAZY salty-even when every single slice is rinsed with water. When it is NOT rinsed with water, it makes the dip absolutely, sourly, DISGUSTINGLY gross. Just hold the meat under water and pull back each slice.

Tip #2~ You can make as much or as little of this dip as you like. The key is-keep the amount of sour cream and mayo the same. If you do that, the flavors will meld well. Just adjust the spices to more or less.

Tip#3~ If you use dried minced onion-let the dip sit for about 25 minutes so that the onion will resaturate again. Otherwise, it will be crunchy. And not in a good way. If you use fresh onion that is okay but it would still taste better in time-giving all the flavors a chance to meld.

Tip#4~ Serve with Rye and Pumpernickel bread. It is SO good.
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Chocolate Chip Cheeseball

This is a very fun twist on the traditional cheeseball. If that makes me a redneck that I enjoy cheeseballs~so be it! ;-) I am a PROUD cheeseball consumer. Especially when it involves chocolate.

It is so sweet and different and fun. And fattening, but that is besides the point.

I doubled this recipe for a baby shower and wound up bringing more than half home, so unless you are hosting a LARGE party (like 25 big burly woodsman that eat an entire dozen eggs each morning for breakfast) don't bother doubling. If said Woodsman bash is on your holiday agenda, do so. It will work out nicely for you.

1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter
1/4 t. vanilla
2 T. brown sugar
3/4 c. confectioners sugar
3/4 c. mini chocolate chips

3/4 c. finely crushed pecans or mini chocolate chips~to coat.
Chocolate Graham Cracker sticks

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and beat with electric mixer until smooth. With large and strong wooden spoon, mix in miniature chips.

Grease a bowl and then your hands.

Grab the mixture and toss about in your hands, forming a ball. It is a sticky mess, but it gets there.
Toss it in the bowl and then in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Once it has hardened a bit, you can bring it back out and roll it in pecans or more chips. Line a tupperware bowl with plastic wrap and plop in. Cover and chill until party. It transports easily. Once you get to the party (or guests are arriving, flip bowl upside down, peel off the plastic wrap gently and invert on a platter.

Spread chocolate covered graham crackers all around.

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Pumpkin Dip with Gingersnap Dippers

People who do not like gingersnaps have raved over this.

People who don't like pumpkin have too.

So-if you don't like either of these flavors, perhaps you shouldn't make it. Or maybe, you might be surprised. You decide.

But it is a great party dip-especially during this time of year.

Oh-and it's easy as pie.



1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. sour cream
1 t. each: cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t. ginger

Cream confectioners' sugar and softened cream cheese until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and refridgerate until needed. Serve with gingersnaps.

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Bread Machine Pizza Dough

This dough is large enough to make two large round (or sheet) pizzas. Just be sure to catch it before it has risen right out of the bread machine! ;-)

1 1/3 c. warm water
6T. butter, softened
1 egg
1 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar
3 c. bread flour
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/4 t. yeast

Put these ingredients in the bread machine under the dough setting and in the order listed.

Once it is done, split into two, roll it into desired shape. (I can NEVER roll pizza dough. So, I usually just stretch it by hand-like the real pizza guys do...well. Not quite. My version is the awkward one.)

To bake-grease and sprinkle cornmeal on pans. here is the KEY: Turn your oven on 450 for about 10 minutes BEFORE you are ready to pop the pizzas in. IN fact, turn it on when you get the dough out of the bread machine.

Having the oven already HOT will allow the crust to get crispy. It has taken me literally YEARS to figure this out!

Should I be admitting that?!?

Top your pizza however you like then pop in the oven until the crust is golden and the cheese is turning that way too. Yum.
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Friday, September 28, 2007

London Broil with Red Wine and Mushroom sauce

Having all the guests we have had this month has FORCED us (hehehe) to eat like kings. I always try and make 'special treats' for our guests, especially now, when we live so far away. It is my way of saying "Thank You for making this long trip".

So, when company comes, I let out all the stops.

And that often means: London Broil. (Thank Goodness for Giant's By One Get One Free!!!)

Now-as we have had our fair share of company, I have made MY fair share of London Broil-but none so delicious as this last time. From henceforth, my London Broil will always be paired up with this declicious sauce.

Also-on this particular occasion, I was a first time user of Meat Tenderizer. Now people. I always thought this was an unnecessary added expense. I mean-WHAT was IN it, anyhow?! What can a bit of white powder do?!?


It is the greatest, and my beef steaks and such will never be without it from now on!

Sprinkle Meat Tenderizer over London Broil to coat. Score meat diagonally with a crisscross pattern.

Meanwhile: mix up

1/3 c. olive oil
1 t. parsley
1-2 T. lime juice (or lemon if you prefer)
2-3 T. minced garlic
a few splashes Red Wine Vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
a few splashes of Whorsersire Sauce

Place meat in marinade for as long as you can. (Four hours is perfect-but I did it in two and it was still great!)

In skillet: saute 2 cups (or so) mushrooms in some olive oil until slightly cooked (NOT too much!) Remove from heat.

In saucepan~ combine:

1 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 T. cornstarch (mixed with a bit of water, mind you...)
1/4 t. rosemary (or a fe springs of fresh, minced)
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
1/4 t. thyme
salt, to taste

Cook over medium heat-stirring often. When sauce begins to thicken, add mushrooms. Turn on low-or warm then grab your meat.

You can either: Place meat in a broiler pan and broil 4 inches from heat until brown on both sides...OR...do the same with the grill.

Slice meat into thin pieces across grain-and pour mushroom sauce over. Garnish with fresh rosemary.

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Scrumdidllyumptious Company Icecream

A NEW version of coffee cake, this dessert pleases adult and children alike! It is perfect for company because you can make it the night before (or MONTHS before!) and freeze. Perfect to stock in your freezer for unexpected company as well!

It is made from chocolate and coffee icecreams-with crunchy cookie layers to boot!

To make this elaborate-looking but super simple (my FAVORITE kind!) dessert, you'll need:

1 pkg. Macaroon Cookies
2 Qt. chocolate ice cream
2 Qt. Coffee ice cream
1 cup hot fudge
1/2 cup heath (or toffee) pieces.

Crumble the cookies into pieces-larger chunks are perfectly acceptable-we are, after all, going for simplicity!

Grease a springboard pan and then sprinkle a thin layer of the cookies on bottom.

Spread 2 cups of coffee icecream on top of that. (This is the hardest part as the cookies and icecream sort of spread around at first).

Then spread 2 cups of chocolate icecream.

Then sprinkle another layer of cookie.

Then coffee.

Then chocolate.

Then cookie.

Then coffee.

Then chocolate.

Until all your stuff is used up.

Once there is not a millimeter left from the top of your springboard pan, sprinkle heath pieces all over the top.

Wrap up or bag (those HUGE gallon sized Freezer bags sure do come in handy!!!) and freeze.

Once company comes, slice it up and pour hotfudge on top.

This makes a pretty large icecream cake-so don't plan on making it for your sweetheart and eating the whole thing right away. It might take a few days... ;-)

For the record-I don't like coffee or the taste of coffee. But I LOVE this....

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Taco Salad

This is such an easy~peasy meal I almost feel bad about calling it a recipe, or posting it here at Kitchen Riches for that matter!

So-rather than a recipe, I will call this a *tip*, for those who have never thought that making a tortilla bowl would really dress up an ordinary taco salad or for those, who have been intimidated at the thought-thinking it was more difficult than it really is.

To make a taco salad BOWL, simply grease oven-safe bowls and set on a cookie sheet, rim side down. Place round tortilla's on top of them and push the sides down a bit. Place in an oven and bake for about 5 minutes at 375-or until the edges are slightly brown.

Take out of the oven and, after they have cooled for a few minutes, take off of the bowls. See. I told you it was easy.

Now-because this is so short and sweet and I have already wasted my time posting these photos, I will tell you what we like on ours, starting from the BOTTOM and going UP.

Refried beans
Shredded cheese (lots!)
Taco beef (beef with-er-taco seasoning!) :-)
Sour cream

Matt likes his salad with a few shots of Hot sauce and hot peppers.

I like mine with black olives.

Corynn and Andrew like theirs with tortilla CHIPS.

And we all gobble them up.

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Autumn 'Brownies'

No-these aren't brownies. But, I didn't know what else to call them. I was thinking 'Pumpkin Triple Layer Cake'-but cake is not the right word. Brownies kind of imply chocolate, but just bear with me here...

They are good. I have made them BETTER before. Follow the recipe to a tee and you'll make the 'tastier version'. At the end of the recipe I will tell you how I botched it...

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/2 c. butter, melted
3 eggs
1 can 30 ounce can pumpkin pie mix (or just use pumpkin with added pumpkin pie spice)
1 5oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
3 t. ground cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl-combine cake mix, butter and ONE egg until crumbly. Set aside 2/3 c. for streusel topping. Press remaining into the bottom of a greased 13x9inch pan.

Beat the remaining eggs. Add pie mix and milk. Pour over crust.

Combine last few ingredients with the reserved streusel crumbs and sprinkle on top of the pumpkin layer.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool on wire rack for an hour, then refrdgerate for two hours (or until chilled) before cutting.

Now-for the BOTCHED story. I usually only make this come FALL-so, it has been a YEAR since I made it. And of course-I have plenty on my plate (so to speak) during THAT time. How is a girl to remember EVERYTHING, I ask you?!?!

For some reason I thought I had to cut the amount of canned pumpkin by HALF. Now-that was just plain DUMB. It wasn't nearly as DIVINE as it was last year. Don't make my mistake. Dump the WHOLE can right in the bowl. Your middle pumpkin layer will be twice as thick and twice as savory.

I will say this though, I am not overly disappointed-because with the REMAINING pumpkin-I made these:
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Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

I do so LOVE muffins. Especially when they have a delicious brown sugar crumb coating like these bad boys!
I wish my husband felt the same way about muffins...I would make them SO much more!

1/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. BROWN sugar (I like the DARK)
2/3 c. canned (or cooked) pumpkin
1/2c. buttermilk
2 eggs
2 T. molasses
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t. salt

Streusel Topping:

1/3 c. flour
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. cold butter

Start by creaming the butter and sugars-add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well. In a seperate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Gradually add to 'wet' mixture-combine just until blended.

Fill up muffin papers or grease a muffin tin and fill 2/3 the way up.

Make the streusel topping by mixing flour and sugar and 'cutting' in cold butter until it is coarsely crumbled. Sprinkle atop each muffin.

Pop in the oven at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for a few minutes before removing.

These are the BEST when served with Maple Honey Butter! Actually it might be even be considered a SIN to eat them any other way...

Maple Honey Butter

1 stick butter, softened
2-4 drops maple extract/flavoring
2 T. honey

Mix well and serve. Add more or less honey depending upon your tastes. MMmmmmmm
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Summer Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo is one of my all-time favorite meals-of course, my version is more a combination of that AND Pasta Primavera. To me, the most superb alfredo meals MUST be a marriage of chicken and veggies. Anything else just comes up lacking.

1st off: Cook boneless skinless chicken breasts. Two large ones are enough for a generous sprinkling of chicken pieces in this dish. Add more or less, per your liking. Once cooked through-cut into pieces, chunks, strips-whatever.

Secondly-slice up one of each: carrot, zucchini, yellow squash, onion. Saute these veggies in a few T. of butter and 1 T. of garlic. It is best to do the carrots and onions together-then add the squashes, as the former require a bit longer cooking time. DO NOT OVERCOOK. These really just need to be pushed around for a bit. Especially the zucchini and squash. MUSH is not a food group.

Meanwhile: boil water and cook fettucchini al dente. It is especially tasty when you use homemade vegetable fettuchini noodles-as I did (though I didn't MAKE the noodles, I bought them Amish...) though not NECESSARY. Use about a pound or so. Once cooked-you are ALMOST there.

Toss the noddles in a large pasta bowl. Add chicken pieces on top of that, add veggies on top of that and get working on the sauce:

1/2 c. butter
1 pint heavy whipping cream (or 2 cups)
1 t. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste, and throw in a dash of cayenne for good measure.

Melt, simmer, and meld. Then-add 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan, romano (or any mixture thereof). It just won't be the SAME if you use that horrible dried crumbly parmesan sprinkles...(and on a side note: I did some price comparing at Walmart and it is just a matter of a few CENTS difference between the crumbly and the fresh and fancy when you compare unit price. WELL worth it. I am switched for good from henceforth...) Heat that until parmesan is melted and mixed well-then pour over veggies, chicken, and pasta in bowl.

Fluff it and gently toss it to coat-and then take a picture, because it is just so perty and pretty soon it will be GONE...

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