Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Candy Bar Shortbread Cookies

Halloween is almost here, and we all know what that means - tons of leftover candy to deal with once the trick-or-treaters have all gone home. You could sit down in front of Glee and eat yourself sick (which is what I probably would have done myself), or you could put the candy to a better use and make these cookies to share (or eat all by yourself in front of Glee).
These cookies (from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food) come together very quickly and are addictive. You can definitely taste those 2 sticks of butter in the crust - it's rich and crumbly and delicious. I used Butterfingers for these bars, but I'm eager to experiment with other kinds.
Candy Bar Shortbread Cookies

2 sticks salted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 cups AP flour
1 cup chocolate chips
12 oz favorite candy bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare an 8 inch baking pan. Cream butter and light brown sugar and salt about 3 mins. Once creamed, add in flour in 3 additions, blending well in between each addition. (It will be a bit crumbly).
Add to prepared pan and bake for 30-35 mins (until golden brown and firm). Add chocolate chips on top and place back into oven for a minute more. Take out of oven and with an offset spatula, smooth out the melted chocolate chips. Add candy bar pieces and let cool on wire rack for 30 mins. Then pop into fridge to firm up for a couple minutes before cutting.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Taco Bake

This recipe has been circulating among my friends for quite some time now, and I'm pretty sure that Colleen started it all. If I remember correctly, she made it for Lauren's family after the birth of Lauren's newest son. Lauren and her husband raved about it, then Lauren made it and posted it on her blog. (I believe the recipe actually originated on Taste and Tell.)

I've had this recipe saved since that time, and since Lauren's son is now 15 months old, I figured it was about time that I got around to trying it for myself. And I'm glad I did - this is delicious! I never would have thought of using buttermilk biscuits in a Mexican recipe, but they act almost like tortillas with a little more heft. I actually ate the leftovers of this for lunch the next day, and I hardly ever eat leftovers. But this was too good to let go to waste!

Taco Bake

16 oz. taco sauce
12 ounce can buttermilk biscuits
4-6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
4-6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can sliced olives, drained
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking dish. Spread taco sauce evenly over bottom of dish.

Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Place biscuit pieces in hot sauce, turn to coat. Sprinkle biscuits with half of the cheese and the olives. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

In a large skillet, combine ground beef, peppers, mushrooms, cumin and chili powder. Cook until ground beef is cooked through.

Sprinkle the ground beef mixture over the baked biscuit mixture. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake an additional 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Soft Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Several weeks ago Joe and I were in the checkout line of BJ's when I spotted the Taste of Home Fall Baking Cookbook on the magazine rack. I snatched it up and tossed it on the conveyor belt, and Joe nearly choked when it rang up at $9.99. I say it's been worth it though, as I've already made several recipes from the book and there's still plenty of Fall left!

This recipe incorporates two things I adore - pumpkin and my bread maker. It smelled incredible while baking and yielded a soft loaf that was just slightly sweet with hints of spice. It was awesome warm with some melted butter, and even my toddlers gobbled it up. I didn't have any walnuts, so I omitted them from the recipe, and it turned out just fine. This bread would be perfect on a cool, crisp evening served alongside a pork roast or some turkey.

Soft Pumpkin Yeast Bread

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup warm evaporated milk (70-80 degrees)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup ground walnuts (I omitted)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

In a bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available.

Bake according to bread machine directions.

Cheeseburger Pasta

It's Velveeta, versus cheddar! Our Velveeta, melts much better. Cheddar's lumpy, cheddar's oily. It runs off of your plate onto to your doily!

Does anyone but me remember that jingle? It must be, oh, 15 years old by now? But it's always what pops into my head when I hear "Velveeta." I've actually never cooked with Velveeta before. I guess I've just never had cause to. But when I spotted this quick and simple recipe on my good friend Lauren's blog I decided it was time to grab some Velveeta.

Upon spotting the Velveeta on the counter when I was making dinner, Joe got super excited and told me how his dad used to buy it all the time when he was a kid and how much he'd loved it. He asked for a piece to snack on, then promptly declared it to be not nearly as good as he remembered. Isn't that always the way? But being that I had no fond childhood memories involving processed cheese, I found it to be quite tasty. And I loved it in this pasta! This was a lot like hamburger helper, but with more flavor and way less sodium and chemicals. I found myself sneaking bites of the leftovers from the pan as I was cleaning up from dinner, so it was definitely a winner. Kids are sure to love this too!

Cheeseburger Pasta

1 lb ground turkey breast
1 onion, diced
2 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup ketchup
1T mustard
2 cups elbow mac, uncooked
4 oz reduced fat Velveeta, cubed

Brown meat in a large skillet, drain.

Add water, ketchup, onion powder and mix well.

Bring to a boil and add mac. Simmer on med-low heat, covered, for 8-10 minutes (until pasta tender).

Stir in Velveeta and cook until melted, stirring occasionally.

Breakfast Pizza

I love "to do" lists. When I worked in an office I never left for the night before writing out a "to do" list for the next day. Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, I still write myself "to do" lists to make sure all of my chores and other things actually get done. This morning I added "update food blog" to me list, and since I get great pleasure in crossing things off my list, here I am with some new posts!

I'll start with this breakfast pizza from Amanda's blog. All I can say is, wow. Wow. This pizza was freaking awesome! I loved the way the eggs reached a sort of over-easy texture in the oven, and when I cut into a slice of pizza the yolk oozed all over making a delicious sauce to dip my crust in. Mmmmmm. I used turkey bacon to cut down on the fat, and used more eggs than the original recipe called for because I wanted to make sure that each slice would have some egg. We had this for dinner and enjoyed every bite, but it would also be a really unique addition to a brunch table.

Breakfast Pizza

1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough
6 strips bacon
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cups grated mozzarella
4 eggs
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives
olive oil, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 500F or follow package instruction.

Fry bacon strips over medium-high heat until crisp. Cool on a plate lined with paper towels. Crumble. Set aside.

Dust your baking sheet with cornmeal and stretch dough to fit. Sprinkle with Parmesan, mozzarella, and bacon. Crack eggs over top and season and season with salt and pepper. Brush the exposed crust with olive oil.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until eggs are cooked through and crust is golden brown. Sprinkle chives over top.