Thursday, April 30, 2009

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 30 min
10 to 12 servings
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 ounces grated Parmesan
Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture, salt, and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Meridian School District Fun Run

"Parker "

In case you thought the only thing we did today was cook and EAT..... Doug and I ran the Elementary school fun run with Parker and Alex....We all completed the 1 mile run. The kids did amazing. It was a great way to start the day.

Strawberry Jam

Since Strawberries were priced at 99 cents a pound at Cash and Carry I made jam today...

Strawberry Jam
5 cups prepared fruit (about 2 quarts fully ripe strawberries)
1 box SURE.JELL Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine (optional)
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl

BRING boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
STEM and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 5 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.
STIR pectin into prepared fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 5 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
For many other canning directions and recipes go to

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Asparagus from Simply Recipes

In place of the lemon juice, you can drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the asparagus. Add a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese for an extra touch.(I omitted this altogether based on my family’s preference…I will never steam asparagus again this was definitely the way to cook this vegetable.)

· 1 lb asparagus spears (thick spears are best for roasting)
· 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· Kosher Salt
· Freshly grated black pepper
· Lemon juice
1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse clean the asparagus. Break the tough ends off of the asparagus and discard.
2 Lay the asparagus spears out in a single layer in a baking dish or a foil-covered roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil over the spears, roll the asparagus back and forth until they are all covered with a thin layer of olive oil. (Alternatively you can put the asparagus and oil in a plastic bag, and rub the bag so that the oil gets evenly distributed.) Sprinkle with minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Rub over the asparagus so that they are evenly distributed.
3 Place pan in oven and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are, until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice before serving.
Serves 4.

Lemon Creme Scones

Lemon Cream Scones from Cookie Baker Lynn

(- adapted from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger)makes 8 scones

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tblsp sugar
1 tblsp baking powder
grated zest of 2 lemons
1/4 tsp salt
4 tblsp (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs
1/2 cups cold heavy cream

For the glaze:
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease or parchment-line a baking sheet. In a medium bowl using a whisk or electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Using a for or electric mixer, cut in the butter. The mixture will resemble coarse crumbs. In a small bowl or 1-cup measure, whisk together the eggs and cream. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until a shaggy, sticky dough is formed.
2. Turn the shaggy dough out on a lightly floured work surface and knead gently, about 6 times, just until the dough holds together. Divide into 2 equal portions and pat each into a 1-inch-thick round about 6 inches in diameter. Using a knife or straight edge, cut each round into quarters, making 4 wedges.
3. Place the scones about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and bake 15-to 20 minutes, or until crusty and golden brown.
4. Combine the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar and stir till smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the warm scones.( I made strawberry jam today , so instead of making the lemon glaze I spooned warm jam on the top .)

These were definitely a hit. They seemed to melt in your mouth.........

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches

Chicken Caesar Salad from Cooking Light

Using a precooked rotisserie chicken makes this salad extra easy and fast, although any leftover cooked chicken will work.
6 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

1 (2-pound) whole roasted chicken, skinned
11 cups torn romaine lettuce (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 cup red bell pepper strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 cups plain croutons (I left these out for the sandwiches)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
To prepare salad, remove chicken from bones; shred with 2 forks to measure 3 cups meat. Combine chicken, lettuce, and bell pepper in a large bowl.
To prepare vinaigrette, combine oil and next 7 ingredients (oil through garlic) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Pour over salad; toss well. Sprinkle with croutons and cheese; toss gently to combine. Fill Hogie Rolls or wrap in a tortilla for a great easy light dinner or lunch. A side of fruit makes this a well balanced meal.

Raspberry Jello Cake

Raspberry Cake from Alicia's recipes and the Cooking with Alicia and Anne April Event

1 pkg. white or yellow cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 c. oil
1 pkg. raspberry Jello(3 oz.)
1 pkg. (10 oz.) thawed frozen raspberries

Mix eggs, oil and thawed berries with the cake mix and jello mix. Mix 300 strokes by hand or 3 minutes with a mixer. Pour into 9 x 13 greased and floured pan. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 50 minutes.

When cooled frost with a mixture of 3 ounce package softened cream cheese mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. (I used a traditional cream cheese frosting)
I think this would be great with fresh whipped cream .... The cake is sweet and the berries were tart. My kids enjoyed it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Soapilla Cheesecake

2 cans Pillsbury Crescent rolls

2-8oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)I used fat free

1 1/2 cups Sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 stick butter(1/2 cup real butter not margarine)

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Unroll and press 1 can crescent rolls into the bottom of your baking dish press the seams together. In a separate bowl blend the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla, spread over top of dough. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture pressing seams together again. Melt butter and pour over top layer of crescents. Mix the reaming 1/2 cup of sugar & cinnamon together. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture generously over the top. If you don't think that's enough cinnamon sugar on top add more its really up to you there's no rules on this part of the recipe. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and bottom crust is slightly brown. Cool, slice and enjoy!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cookie Carnival Toasted Almond Lemon Bars

This is this month's Cookie carnival recipe. Holly of Phemomenon ( is guest hosting the Carnival for April. These are a great alternative to the traditional Lemon Bars. I was a little sceptical about using almonds in this recipe but it turned out great. ENJOY!!

Toasted Almond Lemon Bars
From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy

Makes 1 dozen bars (I made 24 smaller bars)

"Everyone loves lemon bars. I make mine extra special by adding toasted almonds to the shortbread crust."

For the Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 Tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

For the Lemon Filling:
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 7 lemons)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

To Toast the Almonds:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden and you can smell them. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Before You Start:
Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 - inch pan with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Make a parchment "sling" by cutting two pieces of parchment paper, measuring 16 1/2 inches long by 12 inches wide (you can also use aluminum foil). Place one piece across the length, and the other across the width of the pan, with the excess hanging over the edges. You will use this sling later to lift the finished bar from the pan. Spray the sling with the cooking spray.

To Make the Crust:
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, almonds, and salt to combine. Add the cold butter in pieces and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball.

2. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom and 1 1/4 inches up the sides. (This crust, once it is baked, needs to act as a liner in which to pour the liquidy lemon filling. So be sure to do a good job of pressing the dough up the sides - no cracks!). Cover the dough with a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights ( you can use dried beans or uncooked rice as pie weights as well). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Carefully remove the pie weights and the liner and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the whole crust is golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

I baked my crust for 3o minutes without the parchment and pie weights and it turned out great.

To Make the Filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth. Add the almond extract and flour, and whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice, and whisk to combine.

To Complete the Bars:
1. Pour the lemon filling into the prepared crust. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is firm and lightly golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

2. When cool use the parchment sling to lift the entire bar from the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice into twelve 3 x 3 1/2 - inch bars. Remove from the pan and, using a small sifter, dust with the confectioners' sugar.

The bars keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Do not unwrap before defrosting. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.


Dessert Auction Ideas

It was the annual spaghetti dinner /dessert auction fundraiser for the youngmen/youngwomen in our ward.

Last year I did carmel popcorn in a cute crock and a cookie jar filled with chocolate chip cookies.

This year with a little persuasion from Kellan, we chose peanut butter chocolate cupcakes with a cute cupcake stand .

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Here are a few pictures from the weekend, Laila thinks she is definitely in charge. We had a great Easter. I posted several new recipes that we included in our Easter Dinner this year . Enjoy!!

Cheese Potatoes

Cheese Potatoes
Taste of Home
Don't let the basic ingredients fool you.. The hearty potatoes have a wonderful cheesy flavor and melt in your mouth. They're simple to prepare and impressive to serve.

TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
6 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
Minced fresh parsley
Directions: In a large nonstick skillet, cook potatoes in butter until crisp-tender and lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour milk over all; cover and cook until milk is absorbed. Sprinkle with cheese; stir until melted. Garnish with parsley. Yield: 6 servings.

Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread

I found this great recipe on The Italian Dish

1 package Rapid Rise yeast

1.25 cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature

pinch of salt

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup sugar

3.5 cups flour (approximate)

1 egg, beaten with

1 teaspoon of water
6 dyed Easter eggs

tip: the Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled. They cook when the bread bakes. I usually just dye the eggs right out of the fridge, without hardboiling them. Saves time. Just be careful they don't crack!

In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, warm (not hot) milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Don't worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore. Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long and, taking two pieces, twist to form a "braid", pinching the ends, and loop into a circle.
Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place an Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.
Bake at 350 degrees until golden - about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

*For a non traditional twist you can place a plastic egg with other treats inside once the bread has completely cooled. I have also omitted the egg wash and brushed the cooked bread with honey butter and then sprinkles.

Coconut Pie

Taste of Home Coconut Pie

TIME: Prep: 10 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup flaked coconut
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches) I used this one from Southern Plate it is really good and you mix it in the pan you bake it in.
Directions: In a large bowl, combine the milk, sugar, coconut, eggs, flour, butter and vanilla. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Canned Biscuit Doughnuts

We made these tonight for a quick family treat , I didn't make any icing this time , just tossed the dougnuts in cinnamon sugar. These are super easy. I cut a center hole with a knife and they turned out perfect. It is a great way to use up those biscuits when they are on sale.

Canned Biscuit Dough Donuts and Holes


For the doughnuts:

Peanut oil, for frying ( I used Canola Oil)
2 cans large buttermilk biscuits


CInnamon Sugar:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
5 tablespoon milk, divided
2 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided
Chocolate sprinkles
Colored sprinkles

Heat 2-inches peanut oil in a large pot or dutch oven to 350 degrees F.
In a shallow bowl, stir together the sugar and ground cinnamon, set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, set aside. This is the vanilla icing.
In another bowl, whisk together 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons of milk, set aside. This is the chocolate icing.

Lay out the biscuits on a cutting board and with a 1-1/2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out a hole from the middle of each biscuit.( I used a knife ) Fry them in the oil until golden and then flip with tongs to fry the other side. You can even fry the donut holes. Drain on paper towels and then toss in the cinnamon-sugar or glaze and sprinkle as desired.
Yield: 16-20 servings Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 2 minutes
Happy Monday Night!

Ease of preparation: Easy
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Chili Lime Steak Salad

This great recipe from our best bites was perfect for dinner tonight, my husband really enjoyed it.....

Chili-Lime Steak Salad Recipe from

1 1/2 lb flank steak, cooked with lime-chili rub and sliced into 1/4" slices

1 large head romaine lettuce

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in

red onion, sliced thin

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed in cold water

slicedcilantro for garnish

Start with a nice bed of cold, crunchy lettuce, top with steak, tomatoes, onion, black beans, and avocado. Top with cilantro and fried tortilla strips if desired. Serve with lime-cilantro dressing.

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing Recipe

1 pack (1oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (regular or buttermilk, and ignore directions on the packet)

1C mayo

1/2 C milk (or buttermilk depending on which packet you buy)

1 lime

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 C green salsa*hot sauce
Place milk, mayo, and ranch mix in a blender. Juice the lime in there too, you should get about 2T juice. Toss in the garlic, cilantro and green salsa. Blend 'er up. Sample it and add hot sauce to taste. Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken.*A note about green salsa:There are several brands of green salsa available in most supermarkets and they have various degrees of heat. One of the most commonly seen brands is Hernandez. Hernandez brand is a lot spicier than any of the others I've tried. Even their medium green salsa is way too spicy for my liking. I like to buy La Costena because their medium is actually really mild. That way I get all of the flavor of the tomatillos but I control the level of heat with the hot sauce.
Lime-Chili Steak Rub recipe
1 t chili powder
1 t granulated garlic
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t oregano
1/8- 1/4 t cayenne pepper*
3/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
*If you have chipotle chili powder, you can substitute it for the cayenne or just add a little in addition
1 lime (about 2 T lime juice)
1-2 lbs flank steak, or other good grilling cut (tenderloin, NY strip, and tri-tip all work well)
Juice the lime into a small bowl. Add spices and stir to combine. Some limes have more juice than others, so sometimes the mixture will be more liquid-y and sometimes it will be more pasty. If you find you're a little short on lime juice, just add a teaspoon or two of extra virgin olive oil to stretch it out.Place the steak in a shallow dish and pour the spice mixture on top. Use your hands to massage it in there. Let it sit for 15 minutes. During that time preheat your grill.Place meat on hot grill (bbq is best, but an indoor grill pan or broiler will work just fine too). If you're using flank steak it should take about 5-7 minutes on each side. Here's a great tip for testing meat doneness in other cuts.When steak is finished, remove from grill and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it. Slice in strips against the grain. Thanks OUR BEST BITES !!! This is a keeper.

Batter Bread

If you are intimidated by traditional yeast breads and forming a nice shaped loaf then this recipe is for you. Just follow the instructions NO MIXER REQUIRED
Sally Lunn Batter Bread
Taste of Home
TIME: Prep: 15 + rising Bake: 25 min.
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup Domino® or C&H® Granulated Pure Cane Sugar
2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter whipped until softened , nice and fluffy

1/2 cup honey
Directions: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, butter, sugar, salt, eggs and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Do not knead. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Stir the dough down. Spoon into a greased and floured 10-in. tube pan or(BUNDT pan). Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Combine the honey butter ingredients until smooth. Serve with bread. Yield: 12-16 servings

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chocolate Creme Filled Cupcakes

Craving a Hostess Cupcake? Make these instead!!! My kids really liked these fabulous chocolate cupcakes. I picked up a Family Circle magazine today, and these amazing cupcakes were pictured on the cover (recipe on page 127 of the April 17 2009 issue).......ENJOY

Creme Filled Cupcakes
Bake at 350 * for 20 minutes
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 Cups buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
1/2 Cup unsalted butter softened
1 1/2 Cups sugar
3 large eggs
Filling and Swirl
4 Tbl unsalted butter softened
1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 Tbl. milk
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1 TBL light corn syrup
1 Cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350* Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. Combine flour,cocoa,bakingsoda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla in a measuring cup.
3. Beat the butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk mixture starting and ending with the flour mixture.
4. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.Transfer to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes. Invert and cool completely.
5. Filling and swirl: Beat the butter in a medium sized bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Add 2 TBL milk and beat 5 minutes until almost white and fluffy. Add addditional milk if mixture is too thick. Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a medium sized plain round tip. Insert pastry tip in cooled cupcake about a 1/2 inch deep, and squeeze.
6. Meanwhile make the glaze, Heat the cream and cornsyrup in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips , cover and let stand 5 minutes . Whisk until smooth..
7. Dip the tops of the filled cupcakes in the glaze and let set for 10 minutes.(I put mine in the refrigerator)
8. Change the piping tip for the vanilla frosting to a small round tip and pipe decorative swirls on the tops of the glazed cupcakes.