I have been married to a wonderful Christian man since 1976. The Lord has blessed us with two daughters and two sons. I consider each day the Lord gives me on the earth yet another chance to serve Him.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

BTL Salad

A steller salad.   If  you like BLT's, you are going to like this salad.   I love salads, especially when all the veggies are in season.  Yummy!



BLT SALAD
(serves 6)

Ingredients:
*1 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
*3/4 cup mayonnaise
*1/4 cup milk
*1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/8 teaspoon black pepper
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 head romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried & shredded
*1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
*1/4 cup butter, cubed
*4 slices white bread, crusts removed & cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions:
~Cook bacon in a large skillet, over medium heat, until crisp (or bake in oven at 400 degrees).
~Remove bacon and let drain on paper towels.
~In a large skillet, melt butter.
~Add bread cubes; cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.
~Remove from heat and let cool on paper towels.
~Place mayonnaise, milk, garlic powder, salt & black pepper in a blender.
~Blend until smooth.
~Comine lettuce, tomatoes, bacon & croutons in a large bowl.
~Toss with dressing and serve right away.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Baked Spaghetti

What a great meal for a potluck dinner or just for your family.   Takes a little time to make but well worth the effort.



BAKED SPAGHETTI
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 onion, chopped
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*1 red pepper, diced
*1 green pepper, diced
*1 pound lean ground beef
*1/2 pound sweet italian sausage
*1 teaspoon dried coriander
*4 cups tomato sauce
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon black pepper
*1 teaspoon white sugar
*1 tablespoon italian seasoning
*2 bay leafs
*1 pound spaghetti, cooked
*1/2 stick of butter
*1/4 cup flour
*2 cups milk
*1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*1 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
*2 cups mozzarella cheese

Directions:
~Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet.
~Add garlic & onion, saute for until onions are soft and translucent.
~Add peppers & saute until soft.
~Add ground beef & sausage, cook until browned.
~Add tomato sauce, cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, sugar, bay leaf & italian seasoning.
~Simmer for 1-2 hours.
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
~Add the flour & whisk until smooth.
~Continue cooking & whisking for about 2 minutes.
~Gradually add the milk & continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth & creamy.
~Simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, making sure you stir occasionally so it won't scorch (about 10 minutes).
~Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg.
~Stir in parmesan cheese.
~Place spaghetti noodles in a casserole dish or 9x13 inch baking pan.
~Mix in the tomato sauce & quarter of the béchamel sauce (white sauce).
~Mix well.
~Pour the rest of the béchamel sauce over noodle mixture.
~Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over béchamel sauce.
~Bake for 30 minutes.

Variations:
`Omit green & red peppers.
`Add 1/4 pound chorizo, chopped (added when you add beef)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pumpkin Ice Cream

This is a great Thanksgiving dessert.  Eat as is or put on top of a slice of pumpkin pie.




PUMPKIN ICE CREAM
(1 quart)

Ingredients:
* 2 cups heavy cream
*3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
*5 egg yolks
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
*1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1 cup canned pumpkin

Directions:
~In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream & brown sugar.
~Cook over medium heat, until bubbles form around the edges of pan, stirring to dissolve sugar.
~In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks.
~Beat in cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, & salt.
~Whisk about 1 cup of hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, pouring the hot cream in a slow steady stream.
~Pour the egg mixture into the cream mixture.
~Cook, while stirring over medium heat.
~Cook until mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon (you should be able to run your finger down the center of the spoon and leave a trail).
~Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a metal bowl.
~Whisk the pumpkin & vanilla into the custard.
~Put the metal bowl into a larger bowl with ice in it.
~Let chill for 30 minutes.
~Cover the surface of custard with plastic wrap.
~Place in refrigerator until chilled (3-5 hours).
~Pour custard into ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.
~Put ice cream into an air tight plastic container.
~Place in freezer for 5-8 hours (depending on how hard you like your ice cream).


Helpful Hint:
`Place plastic wrap directly over ice cream before covering and placing in freezer.  This will help to prevent freezer burn.



Coffee Ice Cream

I am not a coffee drinker at all.  But those who enjoy coffee are going to really enjoy this.



COFFEE ICE CREAM
(1 quart)

Ingredients:
*1 1/2 cups whole milk
*3/4 cup sugar
*1/2 to 1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans (depending on how strong you like the coffee flavor.
*1/8 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup heavy cream
*1 cup heavy cream
*5 large egg yolks
*1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee (press coffee through a fine mesh sieve)

Directions:
~Heat milk, sugar, coffee beans, salt & 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat, until it becomes steamy, but not boiling.
~Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from heat, and let seep for 1 hour.
~Put ice into a large bowl.
~Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over the larger bowl.
~Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls.
~Set aside.
~Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, over medium heat, until hot & steamy.
~In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together, until lighter in color (pale yellow).
~Remove 1 cup of the hot milk mixture.
~With the mixer on low speed, add the cup of hot milk mixture to the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream.
~Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
~Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon (you can run your finger in through the mixture over the back of the coated spoon and if the mixture stays in place and does run, it should be thick enough)..
~Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the cream.
~Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract the coffee flavor.
~Throw away the beans.
~Mix in the vanilla and finely ground coffee, and stir until cool.
~Cover mixture with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator until completely chilled (about 3-4 hours).
~Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
~Remove and pour into a covered plastic container.
~Freeze for 6-8 hours (depending on how hard you like your ice cream).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

Super simple to make, and very good.  So much better than Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich.  You are going to read this recipe and think that I made a mistake and put to much cayenne pepper, but it's right.   It won't be to spicy.


SPICY CHICKEN SANDWICH
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
*vegetable oil for frying
*1/3 cup red hot pepper sauce
*2/3 cup water
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*2 teaspoons salt
*4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
*1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 teaspoon onion powder
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*4 hamburger buns
*4 slices pepper-jack cheese
*8 teaspoons mayonnaise
*lettuce
*1 tomato, sliced
*dill pickle slices (optional)

Directions:
~Mix the hot pepper sauce and water in a bowl.
~Combine the flour, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, paprika & garlic powder in a large bowl or plate.
~Pound each of the chicken pieces until about 3/8 inch thick.
~Trim any fat from chicken.
~Coat each piece of chicken with the flour.
~Then  dip in hot pepper sauce mixture.
~Coat chicken again in the flour mixture and set in a baking dish.
~Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
~Preheat oil in deep fryer (or heavy skillet) to 350 degrees.
~Fry the chicken for 10 minutes or until they are crispy & brown.
~Remove from oil & place on paper towel to remove any excess oil.
~Grill each bun 
~Put 2 teaspoons mayonnaise on the top section of each bun.
~Place a couple pickles over mayo.
~Place a slice of tomato over tomato.
~Place lettuce over tomato.
~Place chicken on top of bottom bun.
~Place a slice of cheese on top of chicken.
~Assemble top bun over bottom bun and serve warm.

Variations:
`add a couple slices of cooked bacon to sandwich.
`substitute mayo with bleu cheese dressing

**For a healthier version of this, spray a cookie sheet with a cooking spray and bake chicken in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until done.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chefs Salad

Very easy & quick to make.  So simple and yet so satisfying.



CHEF SALAD
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1 (8 ounce) bag of your favorite salad greens
*1 cup ham, cut into julienne strips
*1 cup turkey, cut into julienne strips
*1/2 cup swiss cheese, cut into julienne strips
*1/2 cup sharp cheese, cut into julienne strips
*1/2 cup green onions, sliced thin
*1/2 cup cucumbers, diced (optional)
*1 cup cherry tomatoes
*2 hard boiled eggs, peeled & sliced
*1/4 cup bacon, cooled & crumbled (about 2-4 slices of bacon)

Directions:
~Divide the salad greens equally into four bowls.
~Divide the toppings and place them on top lettuce.
~Put your favorite dressings over salad & serve.


**Julienne Strips = about 2 inches long and about 1/4 strips.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream

What a great dessert to make when strawberries are in season.  This beats any thing you buy at the store.


STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM
(2 quarts)

Ingredients:
*1 pint (2 -2 1/2 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled, & pureed
*1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
*1/4 cup white sugar
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup sugar
*2 cups heavy whipping cream
*1 cup whole milk
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
~Combine strawberries, lemon juice & 1/4 cup sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
~Cover and store in refrigerator for 1 hour.
~In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs until light & fluffy (about 2-3 minutes)
~Slowly add 3/4 cup sugar, mix well.
~Stir in milk & vanilla, mix well.
~Add strawberries with juice and mix well.
~Gently stir in whipping cream just until combined.
~Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's directions.
puree the strawberries first.

Variation:
`If you are worried about having raw eggs in the ice cream try this:  Follow the recipe, but after whisking the eggs, sugar & adding the milk; heat the mixture to just below a boil over low heat.  Remove from heat.  Add Vanilla.  Cool mixture in refrigerator.  After cooling, add strawberries & cream.  Place in ice cream maker.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Apple Gorgonzola Salad

A yummy salad for lunch or dinner.   I really like the salad dressing on this one.  Make sure you let it sit for 1-2 hours before putting on your salad.


APPLE GORGONZOLA SALAD
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
*1/8 cup red wine vinegar
*1/8 teaspoon salt
*1/8 teaspoon black pepper
*1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
*dash of cayenne pepper
*1 medium apple, cored & cut thin
*1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
*1/4 cup dried cranberries
*4 cups of your favorite lettuce

Directions:
~Whisk together, heavy cream, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper & garlic powder in a medium bowl.
~Add gorgonzola cheese, apple & dried cranberries, mix well.
~Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
~Divide lettuce between to plates.
~Top with apple-cheese mixture.

Variations:
`add 1/4 chopped walnuts.
`substitute gorgonzola cheese with feta or bleu cheese.
`substitute dried cranberries with raisins or any dried fruit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Key Lime Pound Cake

This is good just as it is or to use for strawberry shortcake.  It's dense, moist & very flavorful.


KEY LIME POUND CAKE
(serves 8)

Ingredients:
*1 1/2 cups all-prupose flour
*1/8 teaspoon baking soda
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1 1/2 cups white sugar
*3 large eggs
*2 tablespoons key lime juice
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
~Grease one loaf pan (bread pan).
~In a large mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar together.
~Mix in one egg at a time, beating well after each egg.
~Stir in lemon & vanilla extracts.
~Mix in flour & buttermilk.
~Pour cake batter into prepared pan.
~Bake for 80-90 minutes (cake will begin to pull away from the pan when done).
~Remove from oven, and let cool for 10 minutes.
~Remove from pan & let cool on a wire rack.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bubble Gum Ice Cream

This is another of Tonia's favorite ice cream as a kid and still to this day.   Make this for your little one's next birthday party.  It's sure to be a hit.



BUBBLE GUM ICE CREAM
(Makes 1 1/2 quarts)

Ingredients:
*10-12 bubble gum (Bazooka or Malabars)
*1 1/2 cups heavy cream
*1 cup whole milk
*5 egg yolks
*1 cup white sugar
*pink food coloring (optional)
*mini chicklets gum (optional)

Directions:
~Unwrap bubble gum & cut into pieces.
~Put milk & cream in a saucepan, cooking over medium heat.
~Bring to a boil, stirring, careful not to scorch.
~Remove from heat.
~Add chopped bubble gum to hot milk mixture.
~Cover and let steep for 20 minutes.
~Drain milk-gum mixture through a layer or two of cheesecloth into a medium bowl (once drained, squeeze cheesecloth to get a little more flavoring out).
~In another bowl, combine the eggs & sugar.
~Beat until egg mixture is fluffy.
~Beat into milk-gum mixture.
~Heat on stove over medium-low heat until it reaches 100 degrees on a candy thermometer, or thickens slightly, stirring constantly to prevent boiling (boiling will ruin the ice cream)
~Remove from heat.
~Add a few drops of pink (or red) food coloring and mix well.
~Cool mixture in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
~Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions.
~Fold in chicklets in when done churning.
~Pour into an airtight plastic container.
~Freeze for 4-8 hours (depending on how hard you like your ice cream).

Variation:
`If you can't find the mini chicklets then use the "small double bubble gum balls".  I use 4 packages and cut the gum ball in fourths.



Helpful Hint:
`Place plastic wrap directly over ice cream before covering and placing in freezer.  This will help to prevent freezer burn.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lasagna

Tonia favorite since she was young. This is a meal I normally will put together the day before for up to the baking part. It makes for a nice Sunday after church meal.




LASAGNA

Ingredients:
*1 pound sweet Italian sausage
*1 1/2 pounds ground beef
*1/2 cup onion, chopped
*4 garlic cloves, minced
*1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
*2 (12 ounce) cans tomato sauce
*1 quart stewed tomatoes (I can my own)
*1/2 cup water
*2 tablespoon white sugar
*1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
*1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
*2 teaspoons salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
*2 teaspoons dried oregano
*2 bay leafs
*12 lasagna noodles (use gluten free if needed)
*1 pound ricotta cheese
*1 egg
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
*1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
*1/4 cup parsley flakes

Directions:
~In a large pan, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned.
~Stir in stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and water.
~Season with sugar, basil, 2 tablespoons parsley flakes, Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons salt, bay leafs, pepper, and oregano.
~Simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
~Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
~Cook lasagna noodels in boiling water for 8 minutes.
~Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water, set aside.
~In a mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg remaining parsley, and remaining salt.
~Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
~To assemble, arrange 3 or 4 noodles over bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.
~Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce over the noodles.
~Spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture over the meat sauce.
~Top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese.
~Repeat two more times.
~Cover with aluminum foil (to prevent sticking spray foil with cooking spray).
~Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.
~Cool for 15 minutes before cooking.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ranch Dressing

I love homemade dressings, not only for the taste, but because it has not MSG. Easy to make, delicious, and inexpensive.


RANCH DRESSING (store in a pint jar)

Ingredients:
*1 cup mayonnaise
*1/4 cup sour cream
*1/4 cup buttermilk
*1/8 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon onion powder
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon dried chives
*1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/8 teaspoon paprika
*1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Directions:
~In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients.
~Cover (I use a pint jar) and refrigerate for 24 hours before using. (If you use it right away, it tastes more like mayo, than ranch)

Variations:
`Use reduced fat Mayo, & Sour Cream.

Helpful Hint:
-If it's to thick of a dressing for your liking, add 1/4 cup milk.
-If you want it more for dipping, substitute buttermilk for another 1/4 cup sour cream.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fudgy Brownies

These a thick, rich & fudgy.  You will only need a small piece to take care of your chocolate craving.


FUDGY BROWNIES
(makes 32)

Brownie Ingredients:
*8 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
*1 cup butter
*1 teaspoon instant coffee
*5 large eggs
*3 cups white sugar
*1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*2 cups walnuts, chopped

Frosting Ingredients:
*1 1/4 cups white sugar
*1 cup half & half
*5 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
*1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1/8 teaspoon salt
*1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Brownie Directions:
~Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 if using a glass pan).
~Spray cooking spray in a 9x13 inch baking pan.
~Put chocolate & butter in a microwave-safte bowl.
~Microwave on high until the chocolate & butter is melted, stirring every 30 seconds.
~Remove from microwave and stir in instant coffee.
~In a mixing bowl, place eggs, sugar, & vanilla.
~Beat on high for 2 minutes.
~Reduce speed of mixer to low, beat in chocolate mixture.
~Beat in flour & salt just until combined.
~Stir in chopped walnuts.
~Pour into prepared pan.
~Bake for 35-40 minutes.
~Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Frosting Directions:
~Combine sugar, salt half & half in a saucepan over medium heat.
~Stir until the sugar dissolves and the milk mixture begins to simmer.
~Reduce heat to low, and let the mixture simmer for 7 minutes, without stirring.
~Remove from heat.
~Stir in chocolate, instant coffee and butter, stirring to melt and mix throughly.
~Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
~Whisk until smooth.
~Place frosting in refrigerator and stir every 5 minutes, until frosting is chilled and thickens (about 30-40 minutes)
~Frost the brownies & cut into squares.

Helpful Hint:
`if you don't have unsweetend chocolate squares

Variation:
-If you want thinner brownies, use a jelly roll pan and bake about 25 minutes (makes about 50).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

French Onion Chip Dip

Sooooo good.  I am very picky about my french onion chip dips. I started making my own, because I've only found one store bought that I like.   This is very good, especially after it sits for a few hours.



FRENCH ONION CHIP DIP
(serves 16-20)

Ingredients:
*1 tablespoon butter
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 1/2 cups onions, diced
*1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*2 cups sour cream
*1/2 cup mayonnaise
*1/4 teaspoon white pepper
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
*1/2 teaspoons celery salt
*1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
*1 1/2 teaspoons dried chives (optional)

Directions:
~In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter & olive oil.
~Once butter is melted, add 1/4 teaspoon salt & onions.
~Cook until onions for about 15 minutes.
~Add minced garlic and cook another 5-10 minutes (onions should be caramelized).
~Remove from heat and let cool.
~Once onion mixture is completely cooled mix with sour cream, mayonnaise, white pepper, & teaspoon kosher salt, celery salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried chives & worcestershire sauce.
~Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
~Stir before serving.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken Taquitos

Super simple to make and very tasty.    Serve with some Mexican rice & some black beans.  Dip them in sour cream or guacamole.


CHICKEN TAQUITOS
(serves 3)

Ingredients:
*1/3 cup cream cheese
*1/4 cup green or red salsa (i use homemade)
*1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
*1/2 teaspoon cumin (use gluten free if needed)
*teaspoon chili powder
*1/2 teaspoon onion powder
*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*1 teaspoon dried cilantro
*2 tablespoon green onions, sliced.
*2 cups chicken, cooked & shredded
*1 cup pepperjack cheese, grated
*6 small corn tortillas
*1 tablespoon kosher salt

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
~LIne a baking pan with aluminum foil and spay with a cooking spray.
~Heat cream cheese in the microwave oven in a microwave safe bowl for about 25-30 seconds.
~Add salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, dried cilantro & garlic powder.
~Stir until well mixed.
~Add green onions, chicken & cheese.
~Mix well.
~Heat up a couple tortillas in the microwave, just enough to make them pliable (I put a damp towel over them when doing this).
~Place 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture on down the center of the tortilla.
~Roll & put seam side down on prepared pan.
~Spray tops with cooking spray.
~Sprinkle kosher salt over tortillas.
~Bake for 20 minutes or until crisp.

Friday, June 10, 2011

French Vanilla Ice Cream

Often homemade ice cream gets a little icy and not this one.  It's so creamy and so good.  French Vanilla ice cream is a little more complicated and more expensive than Vanilla, but it also tastes so much better.



FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM
(makes 1 1/2 quarts)

Ingredients:
*8 large egg yolks
*1/4 cup white sugar
*2 1/2 cups heavy cream
*1 cup whole milk
*1/4 cup white sugar
*2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise
*3/4 cup white sugar
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup whole milk

Directions:
~In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks & 1/4 cup sugar together, until sooth & creamy.
~ Put cream, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar & salt into a medium sauce pan, cooking over medium heat.
~Scape vanilla seeds from beans with a tip of a small knife into milk mixture.
~Heat milk mixture until just before it starts to simmer.
~Remove from heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.
~Prepared an ice water bath in a bowl large enough to set another bowl easily inside of it.
~Whisk in 1 cup of the cream mixture in a slow stream into the yolk mixture (this tempers it).
~Add another cup of the cream mixture, and continue to whisk.
~Transfer the egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan.
~Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it's thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (you can run your finger in through the mixture over the back of the coated spoon and if the mixture stays in place and does run, it should be thick enough, about 160 degrees).
~Remove from heat and mix in remaining 1/2 cup milk to stop from over cooking.
~Pour mixture through mesh sieve into a stainless steel bowl set in the ice-water bath.
~Once cooled down some, cover mixture with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator (about 2-3 hours)
~Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions (Do not over churn)
~Freeze for a least 4-8 hours (depending on hard you want your ice cream) in an airtight plastic container.

Variation:
`substitute vanilla beans for 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, added after you remove from heat.



Helpful Hint:
`Place plastic wrap directly over ice cream before covering and placing in freezer.  This will help to prevent freezer burn.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Baked Apple Pancake

The smell of this cooking is the house is awesome.   It also tastes wonderful.   Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a dessert.



               

BAKED APPLE PANCAKE
(serves 2)

Ingredients:
*3 medium size apples, peeled, cored, & sliced thinly (best if you use three different types of apples)
*3 tablespoons butter
*1/8 cup butter
*1/8 cup brown sugar
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/8 cup walnuts, chopped
*1/3 cup all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon white sugar
*1/4 teaspoon baking powder
*1/8 teaspoon baking soda
*1/8 teaspoon salt
*1/3 cup whole milk
*1 egg
*2 teaspoons vegetable oil
*1 teaspoon vanilla


Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Melt butter in a small oven proof skillet.
~Place the apples slices evenly over the bottom of the skillet.
~Bake for 20 minutes, or until apples are soft.
~Remove from oven.
~Sprinkle with brown sugar, nuts & cinnamon.
~In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
~Make a well in the center.
~In another bowl, beat together egg, milk, vanilla & oil.
~Pour milk mixture into flour mixture.
~Beat until smooth.
~Spread pancake mixture over apples.
~Bake for 40-45 minutes.
~Serve with maple syrup if desired.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tomato Avocado Salad

I love salads.  Great for lunch or a side dish with dinner.


TOMATO AVOCADO SALAD

Ingredients:
*2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
*1 avocado, chopped
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1/4 cup red onion, diced
*1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
*1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
~Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl & toss together.
~Let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Variation:
~Substitute cherry tomatoes with 2 tomatoes, diced.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chocolate Ice Cream

If you are in the mood for the rich creamy taste of chocolate, then this is the recipe for you.   It will take care of any chocolate craving.




CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
(1 1/2 quarts)

Ingredients:
*1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
*1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
*1 cup half & half
*2 cups half & half
*1 cup heavy cream
*8 egg yolks
*1 1/4 cups white sugar
*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:
~Place the cocoa powder and 1 cup half & half, in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
~Heat throughly (but do not boil) while whisking.
~Once hot, add 2 cups half & half and heavy cream.
~Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, remove from heat once it simmers.
~In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks for a minute or two.
~Gradually add the sugar and whisk until combined well.
~Remove 1 cup of the hot milk mixture.
~In a slow steady stream pour the 1 cup hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, while quickly whisking.
~When throughly mixed, pour the rest of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking until well mixed.
~Return to saucepan.
~Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon (you can run your finger down the back of the coated wooden spoon and if the mixture stays in place and doesn't run, it should be thick enough, abut 160 degrees.
~Pour mixture into a stainless steal bowl.
~Place stainless steal bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice.
~Allow to cool for about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while.
~Stir in vanilla extract.
~Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 4-5 hours.
~Pour into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's directions.
~Place into an air-tight container and freeze for another 4-8 hours (depending on how hard you like your ice cream).

Variation:
`add 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee to milk mixture if using regular unsweetened cocoa while it's heating to enhance the chocolate flavor.
`fold in 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds before putting ice cream in freezer (some ice cream makers you can do that durning the last few minutes of mixing).


Helpful Hint:
`Place plastic wrap directly over ice cream before covering and placing in freezer.  This will help to prevent freezer burn.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gorgonzola-Walnut Salad

Yummy, yummy, yummy on the tummy, tummy, tummy.   This is good for your lunch or for dinner.   Make sure you leave some of the candied walnuts for the salad, because you may want to eat them all as a snack.

                     Chicken Added

GORGONZOLA-WALNUT SALAD
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
*1/2 cup walnut halves
*1/4 cup white sugar
*1 (6 ounce bag) your favorite salad greens
*1/2 cup dried cranberries
*1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
*1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
*1 tablespoon raspberry vinaigrette (I make my own)
*1 tablespoon white vinegar
*1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:
~Place walnuts & sugar in a medium skittle over medium heat.
~Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves into a light brown liquid and coats the walnuts.
~Remove from heat.
~Spread on a cookie sheet sprayed with a cooking spray, to cool.
~In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette, vinegar & olive oil together.
~In a large bowl, mix salad greens, cranberries, strawberries & cheese.
~Mix in vinaigrette mixture.
~Add candied walnuts & toss again.

Variation:
`Add sliced, roasted chicken


Hint:
`if making ahead of time, don't add vinaigrette dressing until ready to serve.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bacon Gorgonzola Burgers

A great twist on stuffed burger.  Served with some corn on the cob & a cucumber salad, makes a great summer dinner.


BACON GORGONZOLA BURGER
(serves 4-quarter pounders)

Ingredients:
*1 pound lean ground beef
*1 egg, beaten
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1/2 cup onion, diced small (optional)
*1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
*1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
*1/4 cup bacon, cooked & crumbled (use a good quality bacon)
*4 slices of provolone cheese
*4 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS:
~In a large bowl mix lean ground beef, beaten egg, minced garlic, black pepper, salt, & cayenne pepper.
~In a separate bowl, mix gorgonzola cheese & bacon.
~Divide ground beef mixture into 8 equal pieces.
~Make 4 pieces of the divided beef mixture, into patties.
~Make a slight indentation in the middle of each of the patties.
~Divide the gorgonzola-bacon mixture evenly between the four patties.
~Make 4 patties with the remaining divided beef mixture.
~Lay them on top of the lower burger sections.
~Seal the edges securely, by pressing the top & bottom sections together.
~Oil the grill before you place burgers on grill (or broil on low in oven).
~Turn only once (cook about 5-7 minutes on each side).
~Toast hamburger buns.
~Place burger on toasted bun and top with provolone cheese.

Variation:
`substitute gorgonzola cheese with sharp cheese (or favorite cheese)
`substitute bacon with real bacon bits
`substitute provolone cheese with american cheese (or favorite cheese).
`top with a slice of tomato, lettuce, & pickles.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Coconut Almond Bars

A very easy to make.   If you like almond joys or mounds you'll like this recipe.  Warning should come with this: They can become addicting.




COCONUT ALMOND BARS
(serves 16-20)

Ingredients:
*2 cups graham cracker crumbs
*1/4 cup white sugar
*1/2 cup butter, melted
*1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
*2 cups flaked coconut
*1 (12 ounce) package semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Directions:
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar & melted butter.
~Mix well.
~Pat into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan.
~Bake for 15 minutes.
~Remove from oven.
~Combine condensed milk & coconut.
~Drop by small spoonfuls over graham cracker crumb crust.
~Bake for 15 minutes.
~Remove from oven.
~Gently spread the hot coconut mixture evenly over crust.
~Turn off oven.
~Sprinkle the chocolate chips over coconut mixture.
~Return dessert to oven for 10-12 minutes.
~Remove from oven.
~Gently spread melted chocolate evenly over coconut mixture.
~Let cool & chocolate set.

Variations:
`add 1/2 cup butterscotch chips to chocolate chips.
`add 1/2 cup peanut butter chips to chocolate chips.
`replace chocolate chips with mint chips.
`replace chocolate chips with butterscotch chips.
`replace chocolate chips with peanut butter chips.