Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cheese Straws

Just in time for the holidays!

Cheese Straws

2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups four
1 Tbl. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Knead with your hands to soften the mixture and form a ball. Dive into 3 portions. Between sheets of floured wax paper, roll each portion until thin. Cut into strips. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool. Using a spatula transfer to paper towels to drain. Store in air tight container.

These cheese straws are simple to make and so delicious. You can change the flavor by using blends of cheese. These are really good made with the seasoned Mexican cheese blend found in your grocery store.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chocolate Chunky Pecan Pie

1 deep dish pie 9" pie crust, unbaked
3 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla with a wire whisk. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle chocolate chunks over bottom of crust. Pour pecan mix slowly over chocolate. Bake 50 minutes.

If your crust starts to brown too quickly, cover it with foil. If you are using a frozen pie shell, do not thaw. Always bake pies with a baking sheet under them just in case they boil over. If you have trouble finding chocolate chunks, buy squares and chop them or use a good quality of chocolate chip.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole

6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/2 tsp. allspice

Boil sweet potatoes until tender. Drain and place in a mixing bowl. With a fork mix butter, brown sugar, nuts and allspice until crumbly. Gently toss into potatoes (don't mash potatoes). Pour into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with miniature marshmallows. Bake in a 350 degree oven until hot and marshmallows are slightly browned.

You can change the flavor by changing the spice. Nutmeg is good but ground cloves gives this a really great taste. You can also use cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trail Mix Biscotti

Biscotti is an Italian biscuit-cookie that has been baked twice. It freezes well or can be storeed at room temperature in an airtight container.The Italians use the term biscotti to refer to any type of cookie. In North America, the word "biscotti" is used to describe a long, dry, hard, twice-baked cookie with a curved top and flat bottom designed for dunking into wine or coffee.
The name biscotti is derived from 'bis' meaning twice in Italian and 'cotto' meaning baked or cooked.

Biscotti is said to have originated during Columbus's time and credited to an Italian baker who originally served them with Tuscan wines. They became so popular that every province developed their own flavored version. Because of their long storage ability they were an ideal food for sailors, soldiers, and fisherman.

Trail Mix Biscotti

3 cups flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Trail Mix Mixed Nuts & Raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries

PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well blended after each addition.

PLACE dough on lightly floured surface. Gradually add the trail mix and cranberries, kneading into dough until well blended after each addition. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 12x2-inch log; place on greased baking sheet.

BAKE 20 to 25 min. or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet to cutting board; cool 15 min. Cut each log diagonally in 1-inch-thick slices, using serrated knife. Place, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Bake an additional 20 min. or until lightly toasted and dry, turning over after 10 min. Remove to wire racks. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

This little cookie/biscuit takes a little time to make but is well worth every minute.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ambrosia Bars

This recipe was sent to me by my dear friend Lillian. It came from one of her cookbooks "Favorite Recipes of Eastern Star, 1967." Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbl. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) soft butter
2 cups coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla
2 well-beaten eggs

Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt and butter. Mixture will be crumbly. Press into a 9 x 13" pan. Bake at 325 for 12 - 15 minutes. Combine all remaining ingredients. Spread over baked layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes longer. Cool


2 Tbl. butter
6 large marshmallows
2 Tbl. cream (evaporated milk)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated orange rind
Orange juice if needed

Gently heat butter, marshmallows and cream until marshmallows are melted. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice and orange rind. Add enough orange juice to spread easily if needed. Spread on cooled cookie and cut into bars when icing is set.

When I made this I grated a little more orange rind for garnishing. This would also be pretty garnished with cherries. It is a very rich dish so when cutting, you might want to cut into small squares.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shrimp Casserole

3/4 cups uncooked white rice
3/4 lb. medium size raw shrimp
1/4 cup butter
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook rice according to package. Peel and devein shrimp. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onions, celery and garlic. Sauté 10-12 minutes or until tender. Stir in soup, shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook 3 minutes or until shrimp turns pink. Combine shrimp mix and rice. Pour into a 8 x 8 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese melts. Serves 4 - 6

Changes - Use cream of celery or cream of shrimp soup instead of mushroom. Use 1 1/2 cups of cooked chopped chicken instead of shrimp. When using chicken, you might want to use cream of chicken soup. You can also make this dish using imitation crab meat or tuna.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Roasted Pepper Veggie Dip

1 jar (12 oz.) roasted red peppers, well drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbl. chopped parsley
1 cup cottage cheese

In a food processor combine peppers and garlic. Process until smooth. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley and pulse to combine. Add cottage cheese and pulse until well blended. Serve with raw veggies.

Changes - add a little dill or other herb that you might like. To do this, mix full recipe, take out a spoon full, add your other herbs, mix and taste. This will tell you if your added flavors will compliment or destroy the flavor of your dip. You can also increase the amount of garlic if you want. And for added texture, add a few finely chopped nuts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Country Omelet

2 cups potatoes, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
8 - 10 strips bacon
8 eggs
2 Tbl. milk
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large skillet fry bacon until crispy. Remove and pour grease from pan but don't wipe clean. Fry potatoes and onions in bacon pan until done and browned. (Add just a little bacon grease if needed for cooking potatoes.) Add bacon and mix with potatoes. Remove skillet from heat. In a bowl beat eggs, milk and salt & pepper until blended. Pour over mixture in skillet and cover. Place over med. heat burner. Tilt pan to let egg mixture run down onto the hot skillet. Remove cover occasionally and fold egg mixture over around edges to allow more of the liquid to run onto the hot skillet. When omelet becomes puffy around the edges and center is set, gently slide onto plates. Serves 6-8.

Changes - Use ham or sausage instead of bacon. If using ham you will have to add a little cooking oil for cooking the potatoes. And of course, you can add cheese. When I do this, I add during the last 5 minutes of cooking to allow the cheese to melt and run into the omelet.