Sunday, October 19, 2014

No Bake Texas Brittle Bars

Once I discovered Biscoff, I became intrigued with a variety of recipes using it. I created this original recipe as a take on a Tex - Mex Bar based on another popular bar recipe that I make.

Texas Brittle Bars:

1 1/2 Sticks (12 TBS) Butter, melted
2 C Crushed Corn Chips
1 1/2 C Confectioner's Sugar
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper 
1 1/4 C  Biscoff Spread, divided
1 1/2 C Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 C Chopped Pecans
Sea Salt for Garnish

In a medium bowl:
Melted butter,
Corn Chips
Confectioner's Sugar
Cayenne Pepper
1 C of Biscoff Spread

Stir together until well combined.
Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9"X13" baking dish.

Combine Chocolate Chips and the remaining 1/4 C Biscoff Spread in a microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the Chocolate and Biscoff Spread are melted and smooth; two intervals should be enough.
Mix to blend.

Spread evenly over the Corn Chip layer.
Sprinkle the top with Sea Salt and Pecans.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

No Bake Oreo Cupcakes , a variety of combinations!

This is a clever desert that I found while researching some new ideas for a Block Party.
I don't have a source for these. I adapted several recipes.
I've included some optional choices for flavors.

The traditional no bake cupcake would be regular size Chocolate Oreo Cookies, Chocolate Instant Pudding and Miniature Chocolate Chips.
Other combinations can be made with Vanilla Oreo Cookies, Pumpkin Pie Spice Instant Pudding Mix and Butterscotch Chips or Cinnamon Chips.
Candy Cane Oreo Cookies, Candy Cane Instant Pudding Mix and Miniature Mint Chocolate Chips.

The combinations are endless. Choose your favorite Oreo Cookies, any Instant Pudding Mix and any flavor of Miniature Chocolate Chips or Candy Morsels. Toffee bits would be great  with Vanilla cookies and butterscotch pudding.

Here's what you'll need for the basic recipe:
2 -12 Cup Muffin Tins
24 Paper Cupcake Liners

1 package of regular sized Oreo Cookies (about 36)
6 Tbs Butter, melted
1 - 8oz. package of Cream Cheese, room temperature and softened.
1/4 C Granulated Sugar
2 TBS Whole Milk
1 - 12 oz. container of Frozen Cool Whip, thawed
1 - 3.9 oz. Package of Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
1 C Miniature Chocolate Chips (more or less depending on your taste)

In a Food Processor:
Broken up Oreo Cookies (breaking them makes it easier to pulse)
Process until fine crumbs, to form the base.
Spoon into a mixing bowl.
Add Butter and mix well by hand.
Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl:
Pudding mix
Prepare according to package directions.
Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, using a hand mixer:
Cream Cheese
Beat until creamy smooth.
Continue beating until smooth.
1 C Cool Whip.
Fold in by hand.

Prepare the Cupcakes.

Layer the paper liners in the following order.

1. 1 TBS Cookie Crumbs, pressed firmly in the bottom.
2. 1 TBS Cream Cheese Mixture, spread evenly.
3. 1 TBS Pudding, spread evenly.
4. 1 TBS Cool Whip, spread evenly.
5. Sprinkle each with some of the Chocolate Chips.

Freeze the pans for 3 hours.
Remove and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes prior to serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Williams Sonoma Holiday Recipes and my Pumpkin Pie recipe made from a fresh Pie Pumpkin.

I got a Heritage Thanksgiving Booklet from Williams Sonoma today and it has some wonderful Holiday recipes that I wanted to share on my blog.
The following recipes have all been adapted from the original ones.

Pear Chutney:

1 Lemon Peel (large strips of zest), removed with a paring knife
Juice the Lemon and reserve.
1 Orange Peel (large strips of zest), removed with a paring knife
Juice the Orange and reserve.
1 fresh Rosemary Sprig
1 Bay Leaf
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 TBS Butter
2 Shallots, finely chopped
2 pounds of Pears, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4" pieces.
1/4 C Pear Brandy
1/3 C Brown Sugar
 Arugula leaves, Brie Cheese and Toasted Baguette slices for serving.

Tie the Fruit Zest, Rosemary, Bay Leaf and Cinnamon Stick in a piece of Cheesecloth.

In a saucepan on medium hight heat:
Melt Butter
Cook for 6 - 8 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the Brandy and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. The liquid should be reduced by 1/3.
1/2 C Orange Juice
2 TBS Lemon Juice
Herb Sachet
Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
Remove the Sachet and cool completely.

To assemble:
Place a few Arugula leaves on each baguette slice and top with 2 thin slices of Brie Cheese and a dollop of Chutney.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Deluxe Mashed Potatoes:

2 C Heavy Cream
3 Cloves of Garlic, smashed
1 Shallot, coarsely chopped
1 large fresh sprig of Thyme
1 large fresh sprig of Rosemary
1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
2 dried Red Arbol Chiles
3 pounds of Russet Potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped.
8 TBS (1stick) Butter, cubed
1 1/2 tsp Salt + additional to taste.

In a saucepan on medium high heat:
Bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer.

Cook the Potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain well.
Pass the Potatoes through a ricer, into a large serving bowl.
1 1/2 tsp Salt
Strain the Cream mixture and pour over the potatoes.
Stir until incorporated and creamy smooth.
Add additional salt to taste.
Serve hot.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Cranberry & Port Wine Chutney:

1 C Ruby Port Wine
4 C Fresh Cranberries
1 C Sugar
1 C Fresh Orange Juice
Zest of 1 Orange
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Cinnamon Stick

In a saucepan on medium high heat:
Simmer the Wine for 5 minutes.
Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes, until the juices have reduced and are thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Allow to cool to room temperature.
Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate.
Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
Remove and discard the Cinnamon Stick just before serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash:

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2 TBS Butter
1 Small Onion, chopped
2 tsp Curry Powder
2 C Wild Rice
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Piece of Orange Zest (3" long X 1/2")
4 1/2 C Chicken Broth ( I use a Vegetarian Chicken Broth)
1/2 C diced dried Apricots
1/2 C dried Cherries
1 small Butternut Squash, halved, seeded, peeled, diced.
2 tsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
3/4 C Chopped Pecans

In a large saucepan on medium low heat:
Heat Butter
Saute until tender

Curry Powder
Stir well.

Cinnamon Stick
Orange Zest
Cook for 2 minutes.

Increase heat to high and bring to a boil..
Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 55 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl;
Toss Squash with Olive Oil.
Spread out evenly onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Season with Salt and Pepper.
Roast for 15 minutes.

Assemble the Pilaf:
Transfer Rice mixture to a large serving bowl.
Discard the Cinnamon Stick and the Orange Zest.
Fold in the Squash and Pecans.
Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Kale and Quinoa Salad:

1 tsp Honey
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
3 TBS White Wine Vinegar
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Bunches of Kale, remove and discard the stems.
Julienne the leaves.
1/2 C cooked and cooled White Quinoa
1/4 C Thinly Sliced Red Onion
1/4 C Roughly Chopped Pistachios
1/4 C Pomegranate Seeds

In a small bowl:
Olive Oil
Salt Pepper
Whisk well.

In a large serving bowl, 30 minutes before serving:
Half of the Vinaigrette
Toss well and set aside.

Just before serving add :
Red Onion
Pomegranate Seeds.
Remaining Vinaigrette
Toss well to combine.
Season to taste with additional Salt and Pepper.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts & Parmesan.
Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
1 Roasting Pan or an Enameled Cast Iron Casserole pan.

2 pounds of Broccoli, cut into 1" Florets.
2 TBS Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/4 C ToastedPine Nuts
A Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
Fresh Shaved Parmesan Cheese.

In the Roasting Pan or Casserole:
Toss the Broccoli with Oil.
Spread evenly in the pan.
Roast in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes.
Stir frequently.
Transfer to a serving platter.
Sprinkle evenly Pine Nuts and Red Pepper Flakes.
Serve and garnish with Parmesan shavings.

Peace in the Kitchen!

I love Pumpkin Pie..... any kind of Pumpkin Pie. There are so many variations. I've always wanted to make one from a fresh pumpkin. I'm making this one for our Thanksgiving dinner this year, (2013).

Homemade Pumpkin Pie from Scratch:

2 C fresh cooked pumpkin:  1-2 small pie pumpkins. Remove the stems, quarter them, remove the seeds and string. Steam the quarters in a steamer over boiling water until tender, ( I did them in a tall Pasta Pot and it took about 45 minutes) Allow the pieces to cool. The skin will be easy to peel off. Mash the pumpkin with a stick blender or in a food processor.)

Pie pumpkins are small and dense and usually have a medium or dark orange color. They usually appear in markets and grocery stores in September, and continue to be sold through November. The most common variety is the deliciously flavorful sugar pie, but other eating pumpkins may include winter luxury, deep red, and golden cushaw.

3 Eggs
1 (12oz.) can of Evaporated Milk
1/2 C Milk (or Egg Nog) I make mine with Egg Nog
3/4 C Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp ground Cloves
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnamon
1-9" unbaked deep dish Pie Crust

Place the Crust in a deep dish pie plate

In a bowl, combine
2 C fresh Pumpkin
Mix well

In a bowl, whisk:
Evaporated Milk
Milk or Egg Nog
Whisk well

Add wet mixture to dry mixture
Mix well

Pour filling into the Pie Shell ( if you have more than you need, save for mini pie tarts)
Place pie pan on a cookie sheet
Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when tested in the center of the pie.
Use a pie crust shield if needed halfway through to avoid burning the crust.

Cool  completely on a wire rack
Refrigerate and chill completely before serving

Serve with Whipped Cream

This is the only Pumpkin Pie I will make for the Holidays. It was the best Pumpkin Pie I have ever eaten.

Peace in the Kitchen!

I prepared the pumpkin today and put it in the freezer until
I make the pie for Thanksgiving Dinner.
I'll post additional pictures when I make the pie.

This is the best Pumpkin Pie I have ever tasted.
We will make this every year for Thanksgiving.

I had enough filling to make another Pumpkin Pie.
My wife made it, along with a Blueberry Pie.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Crock Pot Italian Soup

I'm on a Soup kick this Fall.
I created this one in 2009. It's in my collection of The Best of the Best Recipes.

4 Carrots, sliced
1 Onion, chopped
4 Potatoes, diced
5 Ribs of Celery, chopped
3 tsp Vegetarian Beef Powder or 3 Vegetarian Bouillon Cubes
1 1/4 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 small can of Kidney Beans, undrained (14oz - 16oz)
1 small can of Italian diced Tomatoes with juice.(14oz - 16oz)
3 C Water

Layer all ingredients in the order listed and don't stir.
Cover and cook on low for 8 - 9 hours.
When it's done. stir well and serve hot.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Butternut Squash Soup

Here's one more of my favorite Fall Soup recipes. I created this one in 2009. It's in my collection of The Best of The Best Recipes.

1 TBS Olive Oil
1 C Chopped Onion
1 (1 1/4 pound) Butternut Squash, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" cubes. (4 C).
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp ground Coriander
4 C Vegetable Broth
1 - 15oz. cans of White Beans, drained and rinsed.
2 TBS Orange Juice
2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large skillet on medium high heat:
Heat Oil
Onion for 3 - 4 minutes, until soft.

Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 15 - 28 minutes, until Squash is tender.

Orange Juice
Heat thoroughly.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.  (See Note Below)
Salt and Pepper to taste.

If you want a hearty Provencal Soup, don't puree it and add Croutons to the individual servings.
I also Roast the Squash for this recipe and keep it chunky. I don't puree it.

Drizzled with Herbes de Provence Olive Oil before Roasting.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Vegetarian Barley Soup

This is an original recipe that I created in 2010. I though that it was posted on the blog. I discovered today that it's not. This comes from my hand written collection of The Best of the Best Recipes that I began in 1974.

Vegetarian Barley Soup:

3 TBS Butter
2 Onions, diced
2 Stalks of Celery, chopped
2 Carrots, diced
1 can (12oz.) diced Tomatoes
8 C Water with 4 TBS of Vegetarian Beef Powder or Vegetable Bouillon.
1 tsp dried Basil
1 tsp dried Thyme
2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 C Barley or ( 1/2 C Barley and 1/2 C dried Split Peas)
2 C Frozen Green Beans
1 TBS Dill Weed

In a large skillet on medium high heat:
Melt Butter
Stir occasionally until vegetables are tender.

Stir well.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer.

Stir to combine well.
Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the Frozen Beans during the last 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, add Dill.
Stir well.
Serve Hot!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Slow Cooked Kickin Cowboy Casserole

I simply posted a link to this recipe from Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen. It's such a great casserole  to share with a large group of people. It's a great Tex - Mex recipe.

Peace in the Kitchen Y'all!