Friday, November 30, 2007

Baked Brie

I looooooove cheese. LOVE IT! I made this fruity, nutty, baked brie for an appetizer at my mom's Thanksgiving get together last Saturday. I got a great tip from a friend and FROZE it which made a huge difference (last year it was uber goopy!)

Beth's Baked Brie

1 Sheet Puff Pastry, thawed
1 wedge of brie cheese
a few dried apricots
some dried cranberries
some slivered almonds

Put the brie in the freezer for 15 minutes before beginning. Slice the brie in half (like a hamburger bun, horizontally). Lay the dried fruit and the nuts in a layer on the bottom half of the cheese, and place the top half back on top of the filling. Wrap the stuffed up brie in the sheet of puff pastry and pinch to make sure it is sealed. Some folk brush it with butter- I did not. Then wrap the whole mama in saran wrap tightly and place it in a freezer bag. Freeze for a minimum of 1 hour, I froze it overnight. Take brie out of the freezer and place it on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. Serve with crackers. YUM!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sweet Dessert, Pear-Apple Pie

I was glad I made this on Wednesday night, I did oversleep a touch this Thanksgiving and it would have been one crazy hustle trying to squeeze pie-making in there!

We'll be having pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake on Saturday and a cranberry cake on Sunday, so I thought I'd go with a fruit pie and I love baking with both pears and apples in the fall~

Pear Apple Pie
Source: Me
Serves 6

9' top & bottom pie crust (make your own or go with the frozen, thawed)
4 Apples (2 golden delicious, 2 Fuji- peeled, cored and chopped
3 D'anjou pears - peeled cored & chopped
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T flour
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 T butter cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375. Grease pie dish and lay bottom crust in it. In a small bowl combine sugars, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a large bowl combine apples, pears and dry ingredients, stir until well mixed.
Add fruit filling to pie dish, sprinkle butter over the top & cover with top crust. (for golden top crust brush with 1 beaten egg mixed with 1 Tbsp of milk)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Paula Deen's Green Rice Casserole

I know, this is awful that I counted this as a "veggie" side dish, but I couldn't resist!! The recipe was pretty clear that this was going to be right up my alley, and it did not disappoint. I will be making this again, it is a fabulous go-to side dish for a big home cooked meal!!

Paula's Green Rice Casserole
Source: Paula Deen's Kitchen Classics Cookbook
Serves 6-8

1 10oz package frozen chopped broccoli
2 cups cooked rice
1 10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temp
1 8 oz jar of Cheese Wiz (I used an 8oz block of Velveeta cheese melted)

Cook the broccoli according to package directions, drain well. In a large bowl combine all ingredients, stir until well combined and pour into a baking dish. Bake at 325 for 30 mintues or until the top starts to bubble. I stirred it prior to serving and it was delicious!!

Sweet Potato Souffle

This was Nate's request for a Thanksgiving side-dish. I actually have been really into sweet potatoes lately so I was happy to make this! Also this sounded like it was going to be great with our ham.

For the most part, I followed THIS RECIPE from All Recipes.

Sweet Potato Souffle
Source: All Recipes

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (baked 4 sweet potatoes for about 50 minutes wrapped in foil, let cool, peeled and mashed)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flaked coconut
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350.In a large bowl with an electric mixer; combine potatoes, white sugar, soft butter, beaten eggs, vanilla and milk. Spoon into a 2 quart oven proof baking dish.
In a smaller bowl Combine the coconut, flour, brown sugar, chopped nuts and melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the sweet potatoes.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Our "Honeybaked" Ham

I've never made a ham before, honestly I don't even eat ham that much except for a Honeybaked ham every once in a while, like Easter. We're going to my mom's for turkey on Saturday so we didn't want to double down on the turkey-tip and decided to make a ham instead. I love Honeybake'd hams so looked around for a recipe for something like that....I found THIS RECIPE on Recipe Zaar. We could not resist using the blowtorch as the people at Honeybaked do, so off to Home Depot we went!! $12 later we were ready to caramelize a ham.

Honey-bakin Blow-torch Ham

1 cup orange juice
1 cup pear juice (I bought 3 cans of pears in their own juice)
combine juices and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight

1 7.5 lb Spiral cut fully cooked ham

1/2 C. Honey
1/2 C. Brown Sugar

a few Tbsp of the honey-spice seasoning packet that came with the ham.

Preheat oven to 350. Place ham in a foil lined roasting pan and (using a baster) cover the ham with the juices (I didn't quite use all the juice). Bake ham for 15 minutes basting very frequently. Mix honey and brown sugar in a small bowl. I used a fork to drizzle the honey & brown sugar all over the ham (around the top and let it spread down. Cook about 1 hour or until internal temperature is 140. I used the baster to remove most of the juice before the caramelizing process. With a spoon sprinkle the honey spice mix over the whole ham & lightly torch to caramelize.

This came out absolutely fabulous and I know it will be even better someday when I have a "real" oven that functions normally :O)

Little Devils...Deviled Eggs

We are both big fans of deviled eggs, and have not made them in a long time. This was a great starter to our dinner that we snacked on while watching football before sitting down for the big meal.

Nate's Deviled Eggs
6 Hard Boiled Eggs
3 Tbsp Mayo
2 tsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp paprika, 1/8 to garnish

Split the eggs and mix the yolks well with the mayo, mustards, salt & sugar, 1/8 tsp paprika. Use a spoon or pastry bag with tip to fill the whites of the eggs with the yolk mix. Garnish with paprika and refrigerate covered for 1 hour, then enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Our "First" Thanksgiving

Unfortunately Nate has to work Thanksgiving night (he has to be there around 4pm), but fortunately we still get to spend the whole day together! We decided that even though we'll be missing our families (we do get to see both families this weekend..) we still wanted to make a fabulous Thanksgiving meal to cap off a day of relaxing and watching football before Nate had to head in to his office.

The Menu
(we were going to start with baked brie but I overslept- so that will be served Saturday at my moms instead)

Deviled Eggs
Our own "Honeybaked" Ham
Cornbread Stuffing
Sweet Potato Souffle
Paula Deen's Green Rice Casserole
Pear-Apple Pie


We'll be heading to my mom's on Saturday for Turkey (I'm making corn pudding, twice baked potatoes and possibly a desert) and we're going to Nate's folks on Sunday for a traditional Italian dinner. It's a good thing I took the day off on Monday to hit the gym!!

Black Forest Pudding Cake I

I wanted to make a chocolate pumpkin spice cake. Nate let me know that even though he likes pumpkin he wanted something "with cherries in it."
Then he found a recipe he wanted to try that involved a box of devils food- which looked good- but I had been all geared up to make a big ole from scratch cake- after a little debate we decided to have a bake off and each make our own cake- but we both wanted to use the one bundt pan and so we combined forces on this experiment that tasted fabulous, but needs a little revision on the execution. We used THIS Hershey's cake recipe, which was yummy...when we make this next time I want to try THIS ONE

Beth & Nate's Black Forest Cake (I)

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 pgk jello chocolate pudding & milk to prepare (the kind you cook on the stove-top)
1 can of cherry pie filling (we used about 1/2-3/4 of it
1/2 c-3/4 cup of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 & spray bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Prepare jello pudding on stove top according to pkg directions.
Pour about 2/3 of the cake batter into bundt pan, using a spoon dollop spoon fulls of the pudding all the way around the pan (you will not use ALL the pudding store the remainder in the fridge to eat later!), pour the rest of the cake batter over the pudding. Using a spoon- spoon cherries all the way around (we used a little more than half of the can). Sprinkle a layer of chocolate chips over the cherry layer & bake for 30-35 minutes-cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to rack or plate to cool. This was delicious but the cherries and pudding sank all the way down to the "top" of the bundt cake so it was like a molten volcano when I flipped it out of the pan-

Here is what we will do differently for Black Forest Cake II;
I want to try the other cake recipe for sure (with out the boiling water step), a thicker batter would be better for this cake. Then we'll follow the steps as we did the first time up to the part after adding the pudding, then the other 2/3 of the batter- I think we'd bake it about 6-8 minutes- then add the cherries and chips then bake 25 more minutes...stay tuned.


This was a yummy mix of leftovers that we had for dinner the night of the Black forest cake. I combined my leftovers of The Lady's Mac & Cheese and mixed that with my leftovers from the Taco Ring and it was pretty excellent! Here would be a re-do of that recipe, easy to make the night after taco night or something...

1/2 a casserole dish of The Lady's Mac & Cheese ...or 1 box of shells n' cheese (prepared according to package directions)
1/2 can re fried beans
1/4 lb taco seasoned cooked ground beef
1 small hand full of chopped onion
1/4 of a can of sliced black olives

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce-pot and stir together until warmed and well combined. Serve with sour cream and salsa!

Pay it Forward~

My poor blog has been neglected for over a week now, but today was Thanksgiving and I cooked up a storm so there will be updates mammy for the rest of the holiday weekend! A few weeks back I saw this Pay it Forward post on Courtney's Blog, The Pink Rolling Pin and thought it was a wonderful idea!! I have had so much fun discovering the food-blogging community over the past few months and want to start becoming more active in the awesome events and creative ideas so many of my fellow bloggers participate in.
Here is how Pay it Forward works; (I copied this directly from Courtney's blog because I tend to mess with instructions if I try to copy them over on my own, and these rules are not so hard to follow or very intimidating!! ;)

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, which is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

"Leave a comment below and the first three will get a gift from me. I will email you to get your address and sent you out a little gift. I too like to get them to you before Christmas but cant make any guarantees. Don't feel bad if you don't comment much, this is a great way to get to know each other. the one thing that i do ask is that you carry this on to your blog."


Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Lady's Cheesy Mac

Recently I got my first Paula Deen cookbook and have been very excited to try one of her recipes! She is just so cute and always makes dishes that look so delicious!
I chose The Lady's Cheesy Mac as the first recipe from Paula Deen's Kitchen Classics cookbook to try.

Serves 6
4 cups elbow macaroni, drained (about 2 cups uncooked)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
4 Tbsp butter, cut up
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk , or equivalent in evaporated milk (I used regular milk)

Preheat oven to 350. After macaroni has been boiled and drained add cheese while macaroni is still hot. Combine remaining ingredients and add to macaroni mixture. Pour into a casserole dish and bake 30-45 minutes. Top with additional cheese if desired.

This made a TON of mac & cheese, and I would add a bit more salt and some black pepper next time, our guests liked it and I would definitely make it again :)

Chili Cheeseburgers

Hooray for football! We had some friends over to watch the USC game this weekend and decided on making some burgers. I'd made My Crockpot Chili a few weeks ago and froze a few servings. So we cooked that up and made these chili cheese burgers.
They were sooo good. I couldn't even finish mine, but one of our guests liked them so much he ate two! YUM!

Chili Cheese Burgers
Serves 6
Click HERE for my chili recipe or just heat up a can of your favorite chili.
Shape 2 lbs ground beef into 6 patties.
Season both sides with garlic powder & season salt
Grill (about 7 minutes per side) until cooked to your liking
Top with some Tikamook sharp cheddar cheese
On the bottom bun I put spicy brown mustard and Clausen pickle, then the cheese burger patty, then chili, some shredded cheese, sliced onion and the top bun.
Huge, messy and DELICIOUS!!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Taco Ring

This week I've been hitting the gym after work and trying to stay with it so the holiday season is not the end of me. This means making quick, easy weeknight meals that last more than one night, it also means only doing my sinful baking on the weekends :)

The Taco Ring is something I had for the first time at my husband's parents place, and it totally rocked my world! Nate's mom BRILLIANT in the kitchen (that's where he gets his skills) and everything she makes is awesome, this being no exception. Taco Ring is a very simple and SUPER delicious meal that I will be making again for sure. I have never made something like this and thankfully Nate helped so it did come out pretty good, I think it will be even prettier the next time I make it.

Taco Ring

2 pkgs Crescent Rolls (get the extra large if you can find them)
1 lb ground beef, browned and seasoned with 1/2 packet of taco seasoning & hot sauce to taste
1/2 chopped sweet onion
small can of sliced black olives
1 can of fat free refried beans
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Sour cream and salsa for serving

Foil a cookie sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the crescent rolls out like this: (sorry for the dark pics, stupid daylight savings time!)

Big ends inward, small points outward, like a sunshine :)
Then add the beans, browned (seasoned) meat, onions, olives & cheese.

Then fold the points up and into the center (I had one package extra large crescents and one package "normal" size crescents- I'm a great label reader, hence the gappage, next time I'll get 2 packages of the extra large)

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until golden brown, let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Penne Prima Vera

I was feeling the need to make something with lots of veggies and also wanted to use things I had on hand so we could make some room in the fridge & cupboard.
This came out pretty tasty and made enough for us to have it for dinner tomorrow night too! I love stuff like that~

Improvised Penne Prima Vera

4 sausages (Spicy Italian would be best case) cooked & sliced
1 Yellow squash sliced in quarters
1/2 a zucchini sliced in quarter sized slices
1/2 c chopped sweet onion
1/2 c frozen spinach
2 c whole wheat penne pasta
1/4 tsp chili flakes (we like stuff SPICY) so adjust to your preference

1 little jar artichoke hearts, drained
1 little jar roasted red peppers, drained
4 green olives
basil, oregano, salt, pepper & chili flakes
1 T olive oil
1/2 Tomato puree
1 T chopped garlic

Cooke sausage. Steam zucchini and squash, heat spinach in microwave & drain. Combine all sauce ingredients in blender or food processor and puree. Prepare penne according to package directions & drain. In the skillet you cook the sausage in, drain 95% of the grease, then add 1 tsp olive oil, onion blended sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Slice sausage.
In a large bowl combine penne, sauce, spinach, squash & zucchini and sausage & chili flakes & stir to combine well. Top with Parmesan.
Serves 4

Sunday, November 4, 2007

French Toast

Nate has been super sweet to me this weekend (he always is!), so since the time has changed and we got a whole extra hour to sleep I used that extra time to make French toast for our Sunday morning breakfast. I have not made this in AGES, and forgot how much I love it!
Nate had some fried eggs with his and I usually make this with bacon or breakfast sausage, but we didn't have any...

Beth's French Toast

4 Slices wheat bread
2 eggs
softened butter

Butter both sides of each slice of bread. Lightly coat each buttered side with sugar and cinnamon. In a bowl big enough for a piece of bread, mix the 2 eggs well with a fork. Heat a medium skillet on the stove, on medium head- spray it with non-stick spray. Using the fork dunk the prepared bread slice in the eggs, flip the bread over to make sure it is coated in egg. Place egg'd bread in heated skillet and cook on medium for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, flip and do the same on the other side. Repeat for other pieces!
Serve with syrup and powdered sugar.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Cranberry Blueberry Pie~

I can't wait to make this again, it was a perfect pie!! Sweet, tart and SO delicious!! No one really got to try this because Nate and I ate it pretty fast. The recipe is pretty much a basic berry-pie recipe that I've had for years, I've tweaked out many times and you can always add your own spices or try more cornstarch if it doesn't set up enough for you.

A note on PIE CRUST;
I have made my own home made pie crust- it's (for me) a big task that is, quite frankly over rated. I will admit that it does not taste exactly the same as the frozen stuff, it is definitely better...but especially for weeknight baking, I am a big fan of frozen pie crust!

Beth's Cranberry Blueberry Pie
3 cups blueberries (if fresh rinsed & pat dry, or frozen- I used frozen)
1 1/2 cups cranberries (I used fresh, rinsed & patted dry)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 T plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 T butter (cut into small cubes)
Top and bottom pie crust for a 9" pie

Preheat oven to 375 & grease a pie tin (or glass in my case)line with bottom pie crust. In a large bowl mix berries, sugars,cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg until berries are coated. Pour berries into bottom crust and sprinkle butter cubes evenly over the top. For the top pie crust, it's your choice- I did mine lattice.
After the top crust is on securely, cover the edges of the pie crust with foil to prevent burning (I totally forgot that step & burned the crap out of mine). Place on a foil covered baking sheet & bake for 45-50 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown.
Then turn off the oven and let pie set in oven for 15 minutes. Then let pie cool on the counter for at least one our before slicing.