Thursday, August 13, 2009

renee's crockpot mac & cheese

I am always looking for great crockpot meals to make during football season. Being gone in the evenings until 8:30 PM at practice makes dinner time rough but I have found one favorite that everyone loves and the best part is that it is ready when we get home!!
8 ounces large elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
butter flavor nonstick spray

Place the cooked macaroni in crockpot that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Add the remaining ingredients, all except 1 cup of the cheese, mix well. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and then cover and cook on low setting for 5 to 6 hours or until the mixture is firm and golden around the edges. Do not remove the cover or stir until it has finished cooking.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

poppy seed chicken

This is so easy and yummy!

6-8 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tubes Ritz crackers crushed
1 can of cream of chicken
2 cubes of butter
1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Wrap chicken breasts in foil and bake at 350 for 45 min. After chicken is baked cut it in small pieces and place in the bottom of a 9x13in casserole dish. Mix cream of chicken with sour cream and spread over the chicken. Melt butter in a bowl and add poppy seeds and Ritz crackers spread over chicken. Bake for 30 minutes.

italian sodas

Great Family Fun!
Sparkling Strawberry Lemon
1 oz. Lemon syrup
1/2 oz. Strawberry syrup
8 oz. sparkling water or club soda

Citrus Twist
1 oz. Pink Grapefruit syrup
1/2 oz. Mandarin Orange syrup
8 oz. sparkling water or club soda

1 oz. Watermelon syrup
1/2 oz. Kiwi syrup
8 oz. sparkling water or club soda

Cranberry Breeze
3/4 oz. Cranberry syrup
1/4 oz. Lime syrup
8 oz. sparkling water or club soda

Tangy Blush
1-2 oz. Pomegranate syrup
8 oz. sparkling water or club soda

Cherry Cream
1/2 oz. Cherry syrup
1/2 oz. Vanilla syrup
8 oz. sparkling water or club soda

1-2 oz. Watermelon syrup
8 oz. sparkling water or club soda

Simply Strawberry
1-2 oz. Strawberry syrup
8 oz. sparkling water or club soda

This Torani flavoring is the best kind I've found so far! Bottles can add up so just start out with your favorite flavor.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

renee's rice pudding

Nothing says fall like rice pudding....true "fall" comfort food!!

1/2 cup long grain rice
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar
dash salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 small can evaporated milk
regular milk

Place rice in saucepan, add salt. Cover with water; cook covered on low for 20 minutes; stirring occasionally. Test rice to be sure it is done, then set aside. DO NOT DRAIN RICE. In a casserole, place egg, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg. Beat all together. Pour small can of the evaporated milk into a cup, add enough regular milk to make 1 cup total. Then add 1-3/4 cups additional milk to the casserole. Add rice last. Stir all slightly. Sprinkle top with cinnamon. Bake at 325ยบ for 40 minutes. Pudding will look somewhat rummy, but will thicken as it cools. I like to serve it with a spoon full of whipped cream...YUMMY!!!

indian naan

Indian naan is one of my favorite things, it is even better made at home!!

1 cup water, warmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 tsp granulated fructose or 1 tsp sugar
1 package dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose (or bread) flour

This dough is very easy to make. Drop the 2 tablespoons of butter into the water and stir until it is melted. This should take about a minute at the most. The water/butter mixture should be lukewarm, around 1000F (380C). At that temperature, add the salt, fructose (or sugar), and the entire package of yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast, and then allow the yeast to bloom (approximately 10 minutes).

Add the first 2 cups of the flour to a large plastic bowl, making a pit in the center and piling the flour toward the edge of the bowl. Pour half of the yeast mixture into the pit and use a spatula to begin folding flour from the edge of the pit into the liquid at the center. When all of the liquid has been absorbed, add the remaining yeast mixture and continue folding. Add the remaining cup of flour until the dough forms a ball. The dough should not be wet, and should barely stick to your clean, unfloured hands when enough flour has been worked into it. Drizzle some olive oil over the dough ball to coat, place in a covered bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen. Allow to rise at least one hour.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and kneed briefly. If the dough feels sticky, sprinkle a little flour onto its surface before kneeding. Put the dough back in the covered bowl and allow to rise a second time, this time for half of the original rise (30-45 minutes).

Baking the Bread
Bring a teflon-coated frying pan up to medium heat on top of your stove. With floured hands, divide the dough into smaller "balls" which are about the size of a kiwi fruit; you should get between 8 and 12. Shape each ball into a round, flattened loaf (like a pita). The easiest way to do this is to let gravity help you; the dough is pliable enough that as you hold a portion of the ball it will begin to streatch. Go around the circumference of your small dough ball, pinching the dough and holding it briely for gravity to do its thing. This is a variation on the pizza-shop theme of tossing the dough, we're just substituting gravity for the centripetal force. Allow each of your flat dough "patties" to rise briefly (10-15 minutes).

Place a dough "patty" in the frying pan. When the upside of the bread begins to look solid and no longer moist/sticky, flip the "patty" and wait about two minutes before removing the bread. At this point, it you want the smokey flavor of real nan, place the bread on one of your stove burners set to low heat. Don't burn the bread, merely toast until char marks begin to develop. Do this for both sides of the bread. Enjoy with your favorite Indian dishes!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

homemade smores

Graham crackers

4 T (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 egg
T sugar
T honey (Some graham crackers use half honey and half molasses. You might consider trying that as a variation.)
1/2 t baking soda
2 t water
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 C graham flour (If you can't get a hold of graham flour, there are plenty of graham cracker recipes that use regular whole wheat flour)
3/4 C all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the butter, egg and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Stir in the honey and blend. Dissolve the baking soda in the water and add to the butter mixture. Add the salt, graham flour, and all-purpose flour to the mixture and blend thoroughly. The dough should hold together and be manageable. If it is too "tacky" add a little more graham flour. Liberally dust a surface with graham flour and roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. For convenience in handling, cut the rolled dough into three or four sections that will fit on your cookie sheet. To make my life easier, I lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper and rolled the dough directly on the cookie sheets. That way I didn't need to worry about the dough breaking when I lifted it onto a cookie sheet. With a knife, score the dough, without cutting through, into 2 1/2 inch squares. Since your graham crackers are not store-bought, they don't have to be square. Use your cookie cutters to make them any shape you want. Prick each square a few times with the tines of a fork. Using a spatula, place the sections of scored cracker dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. I didn't have to do this since I rolled right on the cookie sheet:) Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on racks. They weren't quite crispy when I removed them. However, they hardened up as soon as they cooled.

Homemade Marshmallows

3 envelopes of Knox gelatin unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Line 9 x 9-inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil it. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for about 10 mnutes. Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour the boiling syrup into soaked gelatin and turn on the mixer, using the whisk attachment, to high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add in the vanilla extract beat to incorporate. Scrape marshmallow into the prepared pan and spread evenly (Lightly greasing your hands and the spatula helps a lot here). Take another piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap and press lightly on top of the marshmallow, creating a seal. Let mixture sit for a few hours, or overnight, until cooled and firmly set. In a shallow dish, combine equal parts cornstarch and confectioners' sugar. Remove marshmallow from pan and cut into equal pieces with scissors (the best tool for the job) or a chef's knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners' sugar mixture. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 40 large marshmallows, depending on the size you choose to cut them.

Melt 2 10 ounce packages of semi sweet chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave until smooth.

spaghetti with meatballs

Got meatballs?

1 ½ pounds of lean beef or pork (or use a mixture of both)
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 large slightly beaten egg
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of salt (can use less)
1 teaspoon of black pepper
½ cup of milk
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons of dried parsley

Mix all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Shape the mixture into small-medium sized meatballs. At this point if you don’t want to cook these right now you could put them in the freezer for later. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, and place the meatballs on a baking sheet. Put your meatballs in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Another cooking method is to simmer the meatballs in pasta sauce for about 40 minutes. This will give them great flavor and texture.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water as box directs. Warm marinara sauce in medium saucepan; add meatballs. Drain pasta and serve with meatballs and sauce.

jellin' melon dessert

quite rightly!

Cut two melons (like honeydew or cantaloupe) in half and scoop out the seeds. Place halves in bowls for support, then, using your favorite flavor of jell-O, follow the package directions for jigglers and pour into melon halves. Refrigerate a few hours until set.
Cut into slices and watch your kids scarf them down!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

football bites

In honor of football season. This is a fun and easy dessert...the kids can help too!!

4 cups cocoa Rice Crispy's cereal
6 squares baker's semisweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
White decorating gel

Place cereal in large bowl. Microwave chocolate, corn syrup and butter in large microwavable bowl on high 2-1/2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal; mix well. Shape into 3-inch long football shapes, using slightly moistened hands. Place on waxed paper; cool completely. Use decorating gel to add lacings to footballs.

french toast breakfast sandwhich

I am sure this isn't a new recipe but I just improvised with breakfast and it was a big hit in our house this morning so I thought I would share.

6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 teaspoons butter
4 slices bread (I like white for this sandwich)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup diced honey ham
1/4 cup cooked maple sausage
4 slices maple bacon
grape jelly (optional)
maple syrup (optional)

Cook bacon until crispy, set aside on paper towels to drain. Make french toast by whisking 3 eggs into 1/4 cup milk. Dip bread slices into egg bath and grill over medium heat in a nonstick skillet in 1 tsp of butter till golden brown, about 3 minutes each side. While french toast is grilling, in a nonstick skillet scramble 4 eggs in 2 tsp butter with diced ham and sausage. When done to your liking top with Swiss cheese and removed from heat, set eggs aside. Assemble the sandwiches with one slice of bacon sliced in half and scrambled eggs. Serve with warmed grape jelly or maple butter on the side. This makes 4 sandwiches :)