Thursday, April 22, 2010

Easy Trifle Bowl Dessert

I made this on Saturday for a barbecue and it was a big hit!

trifle bowl -If you don't have one use a meduim sized glass bowl or a small punch bowl.
1 brownie mix, baked and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lg. chocolate pudding mix, made
1-2 c. whipping cream
fruit -I like to use a mix of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Kiwi also works great! You really can't go wrong with this recipe, you can use just about any fruit.

Add a layer of your baked and cooled brownies; use about half or a third of  brownies, pudding, fruit and whipping cream depending on how many layers you want. Carefully, smother the tops of the brownies with your already made chocolate pudding (make sure to smother the layers as evenly as possible). Add your first layer of fruit. Now add the whipping cream, and repeat. You can mix up the order of the layers if you want. Most of the time, I just use a small amount of whipping cream on the top.
Serves 8-10

For my small family of three I only fill it up half way. I use a small pudding package and half the brownies from the batch.

Rosie Posie Cakies

Easy cake mix cookies.

1/2 c. canola oil
2 eggs
your favorite cake mix ( we love the strawberry mix)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix cake mix, oil and eggs in large mixing bowl for 2 minutes. Ball up and organize on cookie sheet. Bake for 4-6 minutes. Makes approx. 3 dozen cakies!

Teriyaki Chicken

A great, easy recipe to make in a dutch oven while camping. The cheater's version is to buy a really good teriaki sauce ( Very Very Teriyaki)and use it instead of all the ingredients below... except the chicken.

10 chicken thighs
1 c. soy sauce

1 c. sugar
3/4 c. mirin (Japanese rice wine)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. freshly shredded ginger
I love adding chile oil or red chile rooster sauce for a kick!

Combine all ingredients into large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover then reduce heat and allow to simmer until the liquid becomes concentrated( about 30 minutes). Take the chicken out of the pot while still hot. The remaining liquid can be used as gravy if desired or you can freeze it. Serve it with a good sticky rice (we sometimes just use regular brown or white 15 minute jasmine rice). You can also make it spicey by adding Duck Chile Sauce.

Gregory's Hot Jambalaya

One of the tastiest meals you will ever eat!
Seasoning mix
4 bay leaves
1 t. salt
1 t. white pepper
1 t. dry mustard
1 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
4 T. margarine
6 oz. smoked ham, diced (we use a large 12 oz. Kielbasa sausage instead of using ham)
6 oz. smoked sausage, diced
1 1/2 c. chopped onions
1 1/2 c chopped celery
1 c. chopped bell pepper
1 1/2 t. garlic, minced
2 c. uncooked rice
4 c. chicken stock

Combine seasoning mix in small bowl, set aside. Melt margarine in large heavy skillet over high heat. Add ham and sausage (or just the Kielbasa), cook 5 minutes while stirring. Add onions, celery, peppers, seasoning mix, and garlic. Stir well, and cook until browned, 10-12 minutes. Scrape pan bottom well. Stir in rice and cook 5 minutes. Add stock and stir well. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender. About 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Manicotti with Cheese

This recipe is from the "Sopranos Family Cookbook".

For the crepes:
(These crepes can be made up to 2 days ahead)
1 c. flour
1c. water
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. oil
To make the crepes:
In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Heat a 6 inch skillet over medium heat. Brush the pan lightly with oil. Holding the pan in one hand, spoon in about 1/3 cup of the crepe batter and immediately rotate and tilt the pan to completely cover the bottom. Pour any excess batter back into the bowl. Cook the crepe for one minute, or until the edges turn brown and lift away from the pan. With your fingers, flip the crepe over, and cook for 30 about seconds more. Slide the cooked crepe onto a plate. Cover with a piece of wax paper. Repeat with remaining batter, stacking the crepes and separating each one with wax paper. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Here is my cheater's recipe
1 package of shells (I use Barilla), cooked al dente
1 bottle of spaghetti sauce (I use Prego tomato and basil)
31/2 c part skim ricotta cheese
2 c. shredded mozzarella
1/4 c. parmesan
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir all filling together, then stuff inside cooled shells. Spread a thin layer of sauce in a 13x9 inch pan. Arrange stuffed shells in pan and pour sauce on top. Add cheeses on top for smothering or a light sprinkle. Cook 30-45 minutes.

Pulled Pork Barbecue

Makes a lot!

For the coleslaw:
1/2 small head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 small head purple cabbage, shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp salt

For the Coleslaw:
Toss cabbage and carrots together in a large bowl.
Stir vinegar, sugar, canola oil, Dijon, celery seeds, salt and pepper together in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

barbecued Pulled Pork
3 to 4 pound boneless pork roast (shoulder or butt)
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 medium green bell pepper, quartered
1 medium onion, quartered
1 jar (18 ounces) cheap barbecue sauce
½ c. packed brown sugar

Kaiser rolls or sliders, toasted

Spray Pam in slow cooker, put in bell pepper and onion. Combine black pepper, salt, cumin, cayenne and paprika in a bowl. Trim excess fat from pork. Rub mixed spices onto roast. Place in slow cooker on top of bell pepper and onion. Combine barbecue sauce and brown sugar. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours. Pull out of slow cooker and shred with two forks. Serve with the sauce from the slow cooker if you like it saucier.

We add our favorite Stubbs Spicey Barbeque Sauce on the tops of each sandwich.

Bacon Souffle

Gregory bought me roses so I made him souffle!

4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
dash of ground red pepper
1 c. milk
2 c. Cheddar cheese, Colby, Havarti, Swiss or Pepper Jack, shredded
*(I like to crumble bacon in ours when add the cheese mixture with the egg yolks. Spinach is also very good!)

Allow egg whites and egg yolks to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
For cheese sauce, in medium sauce pan melt butter; stir in flour, dry mustard, and red pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add cheese, a little at a time, stirring until melted. In medium bowl beat egg yolks with a fork until combined. Slowly add cheese sauce to egg yolks, stirring constantly*. Cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with electric mixer on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold about 1 c. of the stiffly beaten egg whites into cheese sauce. Gradually pour cheese sauce over remaining stiffly beaten egg whites, folding to combine. Pour into an ungreased 1 1/2 quart souffle dish or into ramekins. Bake 350 F. for about 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let sit 5 minutes and serve.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

A cool summer delight!

3 c. milk (I use nonfat)
8 ounce carton cool whip, thawed (I use the lite)
2 small boxes of instant pudding (I use vanilla or French vanilla)
graham crackers

Blend pudding and milk for 2 minutes on low speed. Blend in cool whip. Spread a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan, covering the bottom of the pan as well as you can. Spread half of the pudding mixture over the graham cracker layer. Place another layer of graham crackers over the pudding mixture. Then cover with the rest of the pudding mixture. Top off with another layer of graham crackers. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

3 Tbsp. butter, melted
6 Tbsp. cocoa (rounded 1/3 c.)
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 Tbsp. vanilla (add 1/2 to 1 tsp. mint extract to make it minty)
3 Tbsp. milk
1 ½ c. powdered sugar

Mix all frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread over top, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Mediterranean Pepper Salad

My new favorite recipe!  
This isn't the best picture but don't let this fool you because this salad is amazing!!

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 a red onion, cut into a 1/2-inch dice (use less if your onion is huge)
3 bell peppers, your choice of colors (I used one red, orange and yellow)
1 c. grape tomatoes
1 kirby cucumber,
1/4-pound firm feta cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup pitted kalmata olives
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Swish together the red wine vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar in a small bowl until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the red onion and set it aside.

Core and seed your bell peppers and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. Chop the cucumber and feta into similarly-sized chunks. Put your peppers, cucumber, feta and olives in a large bowl.

By now, your onions will have lightly pickled, both sweetening and softening their blow. Drain them and add them to the other vegetables in the large bowl, but reserve the vinegar mixture. Pour a quarter cup of the vinegar mixture over the salad, then drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste. Toss evenly and serve at once, or let the flavors muddle together in the fridge for a few hours.


Oh, so delish!
1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp of sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

In large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar and mix well. Add eggs and mix. Sift together, flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add dry and well sifted ingredients together and mix well. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Roll into balls and dip into the remaining 2 tbsp. of sugar and 2 tsp. of cinnamon and bake at 350 F. for 10-12 minutes.

Mexican Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are irresistible!
We add extra pepper and chocolate chips in our cookies.
1 c. flour
½ c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 pound coarsely chopped dark chocolate
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, pepper, and set aside.
In a small bowl melt the chopped chocolate and the butter in a microwave or double boiler. Cool slightly. Mix together the melted chocolate with the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease pan. Drop scoops of cookie dough onto parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes, until they look flat and the surfaces crack, but they will still be soft in texture. Let the cookies cool on the parchment paper on wire cooling rack.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I got this recipe from my old boss Julie, she is the Women's Head Lacrosse Coach for the University of Virginia.
You will love making this recipe like we do -it's so easy!

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (optional --we don't like nuts in anything at our house)
1-1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Cream butter, sugar and eggs in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture gradually, beating well after each addition. Add bananas; mix well. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 F. for 45-60 minutes or until loaf tests done.

Jellin' Melon

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!

Shrimp Ceviche

Inspired by my favorite little fish market on the San Diego Bay.

12 oz. shrimp in shell (16) (I use precooked most of the time)
3/4 c lime juice
1/2 c. olive oil
1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeded and rinsed
1 tbsp. ginger, freshly grated
1/4 c. red onion, finely sliced
1/4 c. cilantro
1/4 tomato, chopped (I don't use these in my ceviche unless if it's on top with avocado)
1 avocado, diced
salt and pepper and honey to taste
baked corn tortilla chips

In a pot, boil the shrimp until pink. Remove from heat, strain, and cool down by running them under cold water. In a large bowl, mix lemon juice, olive oil, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, salt and pepper until honey dissolves. Add the shrimp to the marinade and let the flavors blend together in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Distribute shrimp among 4 serving bowls. Top with avocado. Serve with tortilla chips and salsa on the side.

*Always be careful when using hot peppers. Wear gloves.

Insalata Caprese

We love the insalata caprese salad!

4 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. fresh basil

Arrange 4 tomato slices and 2 mozzarella slices on 6 salad plates. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper; drizzle with olive oil. Top evenly with basil.

(Fresh mozzarella cheese is packed in water. It has a softer texture and a sweeter, more delicate flavor than the regular part-skim mozzarella that is more commonly used in cooking for superior melting qualities.)
Serves 6

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Donovan's Rainbow Cupcakes

I made these for my son Donovan's 1st birthday party and they turned out phenomenal!

Colorburst Cupcakes
1 white cake mix
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
1/2 C milk
1/3 C vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients until incorporated (about 30 seconds). Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on med-high speed for 3 minutes. Divide batter according to how many colors you are using. I used 5 colors and it worked out to a little over 1 cup for each color. Use food coloring to color batter to desired intensity. I used approx 1-2 tsp. and they were very bright! You could easily make pastel rainbows using a little less.

To get a layered stripe like I used, you'll want to put a spoonful of each color in the cupcake one at a time. The batter is thick, so it won't spread on it's own. A great tip is to set out a little bowl of water where you're working. Dip your finger in the water and then gently spread the batter out. The water will make it so the batter doesn't stick to your fingers. Another tip is to use a measuring spoon and some water to measure out how many teaspoons/tablespoons are going to fit in your cupcake. Then divide that by how many colors you have so you know how much of each color to use for each cupcake. For my 5 colors, it worked out perfectly with 2 t of each color in each cupcake. So I put in 2 t of blue in the bottom of each cupcake and spread it out with my finger. Then I put in 2 t of green on top of that, then yellow, etc. Bake them according to the package directions, until a toothpick comes out dry.

Check these babies out! True crazy colors. I love how you can see the rainbow through the papers. If you want blue on top, just reverse the order (duh, right?)

A double batch made enough to put crazy high tops like this on all 24 cupcakes.

This is the frosting I used, here. The recipe is from a bakery in New York City. I thought it was amazing!

Gooey Rice Krispy Treats

1 10 oz bag of marshmallows
7-8 cups of Rice Krispy cereal. (7 cups for really gooey treat squares)
1/2 a stick of butter

First gather all of your measured out ingredients. The process is quick, so you must have all of your ingredients ready. Make sure your grease your pan first, so once you are finished mixing the ingredients you can pour warm mixture onto cookie sheets or pan.

Start by melting your butter or margarine into a large pot on low heat. Allow to mostly melt down. Add 1 10 oz bag of marshmallows to pot when butter is mostly melted. Mix the butter and marshmallows. Coat all of the marshmallows with the butter. Let the marshmallow melt slowly, but NOT completely. The melted marshmallow and butter should still have marshmallow lumps.
When marshmallows are mostly melted, turn off stove and immediately add 7-8 cups of Rice Krispy cereal. (7 cups for really gooey treat squares). Mix cereal into melted marshmallows. Mix from the bottom up, evenly coating the cereal with the marshmallows. Quickly pour onto greased cookie sheet. Spread out the mixture onto the cookie sheet evenly. DO NOT PRESS DOWN. Pressing down the mixture will result in hard square treats.

Allow to cool for an hour before cutting squares. The squares will stay soft and gooey for several days. Store in greased tupperware for freshness.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is delicious!
Okay, so the fat grams are out of control on this recipe(54.5 fat grams per serving). But, hey, we're talking comfort food here!

8 T. butter, divided use
6 T. flour
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
freshly ground white pepper
3 3/4 c. hot milk
4 c. cheddar cheese, shredded, divided use
1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked al dente, rinsed in cold water
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. fresh bread crumbs (real bread, no crumbs from a can!), cut in cute little cubes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8x11 baking dish. Melt 6 T. butter in heavy sauce pan over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes (flour mixture must foam as it cooks, or sauce will have a raw flour taste). Stir in cayenne and season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk in hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens. Reduce heat to low and stir in 2 c. cheese. Cook, stirring, until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Combine cheese sauce and cooked macaroni in large bowl and season with salt. Sprinkle 1/2 c. cheese over prepared baking dish. Put 1/3 of pasta in dish, top with 1/2 c. cheese, then repeat, layering pasta and cheese, another layer of pasta, ending with cheese. Pour heavy cream over assembled mac n cheese. Melt remaining 2 T. butter in skillet. Add bread crumbs to butter and stir well, then sprinkle over macaroni and cheese. Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 6

Taco Soup

Easy and delicious!

Slow Cooker (optional)
1lb ground beef, browned & drained
1 can small red beans, undrained
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can white corn, undrained
1small onion, diced
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
28 oz can crushed Tomatoes
tortilla chips for dipping
sour cream

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low 4-6 hours (or if your impatient like me, cook it on the stove for 10-20 minutes!). Top with Grated Monterrey Jack cheese, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.

I serve with rolls, cottage cheese and carrots and ranch.
Number Of Servings:7-9
Preparation Time: 10 minutes prep/4-6 hours low 2-3 hours high.

King Crab Legs with Butter Sauce

Easy Crab House style!

2 lbs. king crab legs
1/2 c. butter
5 garlic cloves
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt (optional)
dried parsley (optional)
1/2 lime, juice of (optional)
crab shears (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F. In small saucepan, on medium low heat, melt the butter, add garlic and lightly saute. Squeeze in the juice of the citrus of choice. If using a lemon, squeeze the juice into your hands so you can remove the seeds with ease. Turn the heat to low and let those flavors mesh until the oven is nice and hot. Toss in salt (to taste) and a couple pinches of parsley. Then whisk in your olive oil. Turn turn burner off. Arrange your tasty crustaceans in a 9x13 baking dish, brushing each leg with butter sauce. Pour remaining sauce into baking dish. Place in center rack in oven. Bake your crabs for 25 minutes or so depending on the thickness of legs. Work in juices from the pan and onto the legs every 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle on parsley for garnishing. Using tongs, place crab legs onto a platter and pour remaining sauce into ramekins for dipping.

Quick Steaming Method:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, set in steam insert (double boiler). Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. In small sauce pan, melt butter, add minced garlic (optional), and squeeze in lemon juice. Turn off sauce burner. Whisk in 1 tbsp. olive oil add salt and parsley to taste and Voila!!!

San Diegan Fish Tacos

These are delicioso!
Blue Water Grill inspired at the Bay.

1 lg. salmon fillet, mahi mahi, swordfish or 6-12 shrimp or prawns
3 c. cabbage(red or green), thinly sliced
roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 c cilantro
1/2 c. purple onion, diced
2 limes
lime juice
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
white corn tortillas
garlic salt

Cook your seafood or meat of preference. We use salmon, mahi mahior shrimp most of the time.

Fish fillets:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 8x8 baking dish. Place fillet inside dish and sprinkle garlic salt, lemon juice and a lot of freshly ground pepper on top. Cover with foil and cook about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Remove when it's cookedthoroughly and let sit for 5 minutes to lock in flavor. Cut fillet into fourths in long strips.

In large skillet on medium heat, lightly cook each side of tortillas. Melt 1 oz. of cheese on each tortilla and place meat on top of melted cheese. Sprinkle 1/2 c. of cabbage, onions, tomatoes and cilantro on the meat(it should be overfilling). Mix, plain yogurt, garlic salt, pepper and 2 tbsp. of lime juice. Pour 3 tbsp. yogurt mixture over fish tacos and serve. Garnish with lime wedges that you can freshly squeeze.

Serves 2 per fillet

Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary and Garlic

This is great!

2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
Your favorite side vegetable, steamed and seasoned

Preheat oven to 475 F. Combine rosemary and garlic. Make several 1/2 inch slits in pork; place about half of the rosemary mixture in slits. Rub pork with remaining rosemary mixture; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place pork on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the pork. Bake for 20 minutes or until the thermometer registers 160 F. (slightly pink) or desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 minutes, and cut into 1/4 -inch-thick slices. Serves 4.


Scented playdough: Berry, Cherry, Grape, Orange and Mint.

Remember making playdough when you were little?  Here is a recipe you'll love!

2 C. Flour
1 C. Salt
4 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar
2 Tbsp. Cooking oil
2 C. Water
Food coloring or paint powder. Here's my favorite food coloring chart

Cook on medium heat. Stir slowly until dough comes away from the sides of the pot.  Add coloring, turn onto table and knead coloring in (be careful it will be hot).  This will last forever in an air tight container.

Other thing you can spice it up with:  Kool-aid packets, glitters , scented extracts.  neon food coloring.