"For I was hungry & you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty & you gave me something to drink..."

Matthew 25:35

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chewy Ginger Snaps

i'm not huge on ginger snaps- they're simply too hard & spicy. however, i have a recipe that makes a lovely batch of mild & chewy snaps- and they're awesome!!

You Need:
3/4 cup butter- softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup crystallized ginger- minced (make it a "heavy" 1/2 cup- ie: full)
Combine butter, sugar, molasses & egg- beat well.
Sift together dry ingredients & add to wet mixture- mix well.
Add the minced ginger- mix well. Chill the mix for 1 hour+
Preheat oven to 375°
Using a small ice cream scoop- form 1- inch balls and roll in granulated sugar (i use a mix of white & raw sugar) Place on a greased cookie sheet (or use Reynold's Heavy Duty Non-Stick Foil- it works like a dream!) 2 inches apart.
Bake 8-10 min (8 for chewy. 10 for less chewy. i do 8.)
Makes about 3 dozen.
Enjoy & God Bless
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Monday, November 17, 2008

birthday cake

i had to make a birthday cake for all of the Nov. birthdays at my husband's work:

White Cake
1 cup milk, room temperature
6 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (6 oz), softened

Preheat oven to 350
Grease 1 13x9x2 in cake pan with vegetable shortening, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease the parchment paper and flour the pan.
Combine milk, eggs whites and extracts in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer and mix at slow speed with a paddle attachment. Add butter. Continue beating at slow speed until mixture looks like wet sand (If you’re doing this by hand, sift the dry ingredients together and rub in butter).
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into prepared pan and gently shake to smooth batter. Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pans for 15 minutes then invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting.

Chocloate Frosting:
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk

To make the frosting:
1. Cream the butter and vanilla together with an electric mixer on low to medium speed.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture until fully integrated. Slowly add the milk to the frosting until you have reached the desired consistency. Beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute or until creamy.

i doubled the cake & frosting recipe to make a 2 layer sheet cake. yum!!
Enjoy & God Bless
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flat & chewy chocolate chip cookies

You Need:

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
8 oz butter, softened
1 ½ c. packed light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 c. chopped high quality milk chocolate (or chips)
2 c. chopped toasted walnuts (optional- I skipped them)


1. Preheat the oven to 325-degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and blend until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate and walnuts. Chill the dough.
3. Using a small ice-cream scoop place about 1 tblsp on the baking sheet and flatten to 1/2 -inch-thick disks spaced 2 inches apart. Chill the dough between batches.
4. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 30 to 35 cookies.

Enjoy & God Bless
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Stromboli Appetizer Bites

You Need:

2 packages Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1/2 lb deli sliced salami
1/2 lb deli slices mozzerella
1/2 lb deli sliced sharp cheddar (Hoffman's)
1/2 lb deli sliced ham (Krakus is best)
7 eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 jars (12 oz) roasted red peppers (drained)
1. Heat oven to 350 & coat a 13x9x2 in panch with cooking spray. Unroll 1 package of crescent rolls and use dough to line the bottom of the dish. Pinch sams together or use the new no seams dough!)
2. Cover rolls with half of salami, cheese & ham (layering as you go: meat, cheese, meat, cheese- etc) Lightly beat together 6 of the eggs & the Parmesan; pour half evenly over the top. Top with half of the roasted red peppers. Repeat layering with the rest of the meat & cheese, egg mixture & peppers. Top with the remaining package of crescent rolls. Push against the sides.
3. Lightly beat the remaining egg & brush over the top. Cover dish with foil; bake for 30 minutes. Uncover & bake for an addtl 30- 40 min.
Cool for at least 1 hour; cut into about 32 aquares & serve. Can be served warm, cold or at room temp.
Enjoy & God Bless
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Tri Colored Stuffed Peppers

You Need:
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper (or orange)
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground turkey
2 slices white bread cut into cubes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves, plus 6 to 8 whole leaves, for frying (i used dried, minced leaves)
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
A few dashes hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oil
Vegetable oil, for frying


Preheat oven to 400°
Remove core and seeds from peppers. Slice into 1 inch rings and place on nonstick baking sheet. You should get about 3 rings per pepper.
In a large bowl mix together beef, turkey, bread, 1/2 cup of the tomatoes, garlic, egg, onion, chopped sage, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and season with salt and pepper.

Press meatloaf mixture evenly into pepper rings.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Saute meatloaf rings on both sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Add remaining tomatoes to skillet and bake until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

(optional- i couldn't find sage leaves- booo)
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat 1-inch vegetable oil until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 325 degrees F. Drop sage leaves into oil and fry until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish meatloaf rings with fried sage leaves.

We had this with Mashed Potatoes. i like to make my potatoes with hot cream, un-salted butter & white pepper. i also RICE my potatoes into the hot cream mixture- it makes them so silky smooth it's amazing!!!

Enjoy & God Bless!
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world's best lasagna

You Need:
1lb sweet Italian sausage
1lb pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion (i used onion powder)
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1-2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
9-12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 lbs mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley.
Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (i simmer for 4-6 hours)

2. Soak noodles in a dish of hot tap water while putting together the rest of the dish. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Preheat oven to 375° (190 degrees C)

4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 (or 3, 3 & 3) noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy & God Bless.
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes:
1 1/2 c. self-rising flour
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 c. yogurt or sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° Line two 12-cup muffin tins with muffin cups. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the sour cream/yogurt and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.
Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Wilton's Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup butter- softened
1 tsp clear vanilla (regular is fine as well)
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tblsp milk or cream

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
Add vanilla.
Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.
Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

p.s. i usually only use Crisco in my frosting recipe because i like it much stiffer for decorating purposes- but i tried this recipe & it worked for a softer frosting. i think my Crisco was old, though, because i could totally taste it (gross)- so i threw in about a tsp of Mint Extract to cover it up- then i colored it (orange) using drop food coloring. i piped it onto the cupcakes using a star tip & then i cut up 2 Mint 3 Musketeer bars & placed a piece on top of each cupcake.

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Potato & Cheese Casserole w/Panko Chicken

for the chicken- You Need:
any amount (it's up to you) chicken breast- cut into strips & marinated overnight (any marinade can be used. i made one using olive oil, vermouth, water, garlic, salt, red pepper, basil- etc etc)
1 egg (more for larger amounts of chicken)
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs (" ")

set the oven to 400°- line a broiler pan with foil & spray with cooking spray.
set up a "serving line" of sorts, for your chicken. dip the chicken in the egg & then roll in the bread crumbs & set it onto the pan. continue until all the chicken is finished.
cook the chicken for about 15-20 min (depending on thickness) and then pop it under the broiler for about 3 min (watch it!!!) until brown.

for the potato casserole- You Need:
2-3 large red/yellow potatoes
3/4-1ish cup whipping or heavy cream
1 1/2-2 cups shredded mozzerella
1 container fresh mozzerella balls (optional)
to taste: basil, salt, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder

1. cut the potatoes into chunks & boil until just tender- drain
2. in a baking dish- spray the dish with non-stick spray & pour about 1/2 cup cream into the bottom. sprinkle about 1/2 cup of cheese & half of the seasonings you plan to use, on top of the cream.
3. spread the potatoes into the dish & cover with the remaining cheese, spices & cream. then, following the direction on the box, pour in the cornstarch to your desired thickness (i used about a tablespoon or so of CS)
4. bake uncovered for about 30 min in a 400° oven until cheese is bubbly.

Enjoy! God Bless.
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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

You Need:
1 1/4(ish)lb chicken breast halves (about 4 or so)
1 tblsp Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (i use McCormick)
1 tsp Thyme Leaves
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tblsp Orange Juice

1. Mix Caribbean Jerk Seasoning, thyme, onion powder, allspice and orange juice in small bowl to make a spice paste.
2. Rub spice paste on both sides of chicken.
3. Broil on high or grill over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through.
we had this with Cous Cous & dinner rolls- awesome!
God Bless!
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