Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A good late night snack - Egg Nog Shake

This is a great "midnight" snack. Madison really wanted a shake like Steak & Shake's eggnog shake and we live about an hour and 15 minutes from the closest Steak & Shake, so I decided to find a recipe. This recipe is simple, but in my opinion, DELICIOUS! Enjoy!
1 cup eggnog
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 scoop vanilla ice cream


In blender combine first 3 ingredients and mix until frothy. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
(*note* I used my handy-dandy shake attachment that came with my hand mixer. It worked very well!) But a blender works as well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A-mazing Shepherds Pie


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground sirloin (or ground turkey)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1-2 cups vegetables - chopped carrots, corn, peas
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

1 Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).

2 While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.

3 Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.

4 Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.

5 Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.

6 Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.

7 Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

Homemade hot chocolate, Sugar cookies w/ icing

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix (great for gifts, etc.!) You can put it in a jar or cellophane bag, or just in a ziplock. You can omit the small taste of spice by omitting the cinnamon & chili powder - I have made it both ways & it's yummy either way!

To print this out, just right-click and save, print it on cardstock, and you have
a rec
ipe card! :-) I usually like to stick a candy cane in it and crush the bottom of it and put it on the whipped cream.

Mom's Sugar Cookies & Icing

3/4 cup shortening/part butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Combine and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll out 1/8". Cut with cookie cutters and place on cookie sheet.

400*F for 6-8 mins.


4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup shortening or butter (I used smart balance butter because that's what was in the fridge and it turned out really well)
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
food coloring

In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.

Well that's it for now!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Amazing Peppermint Crunch Bark

I received this amazing treat from my sister in an exam care package a few years back. Since then, I have made it for many Christmas presents/favors/hostess gifts. They are pretty, and if you get the cellophane bags from wal mart or a craft store, it's a very cheap but tasty gift. I don't make candy, and I do not have a candy thermometer. This is actually very easy and pretty hard to mess up. ingredients:
  • 17 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's), finely chopped (I actually just used white chocolate chips and it turned out fine)
  • 30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces) or 1 box of candy canes crushed (that's what I used)
  • 7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet choc. chips)
  • 6 tablespoons whipping cream or evaporated milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

I unwrap the candy and place it in two ziplock bags.

Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil.

Mark 12 x 9-inch rectangle on foil. I folded it under and back.

Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water

(do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth and candy thermometer registers 110°F. (chocolate will feel warm to touch). Remove from over water. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil.

Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.

Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth.

Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines (or blobs) over white chocolate rectangle.

Using icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in even layer.

Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water to 110°F. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.

Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container.) Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spinach & Mushroom Manicotti

The recipe of the day doesn't have a picture because the batteries were dead in the camera. But the recipe was very yummy! (I made it w/out was good! Madison & I are babies...)
Madison & I are kind of picky. We do not like raisins, olives, & mushrooms...he doesn't like lettuce on his sandwich, tomatoes or onions. I still put onions in stuff though (shh!) ;-)

Spinach & Mushroom Manicotti
1 box (8 oz) Manicotti
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bag (6 oz) FRESH spinach - it makes a huge difference (one time I didn't have fresh spinach, just the frozen kind and it was yucky - but then again, I'm picky)
2 eggs
1 container (15 oz) lowfat ricotta cheese
1/3 cup chopped basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jar Italian Baking Sauce or Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (I use the part skim shredded Italian Blend cheese)

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Cook Manicotti 7 minutes, drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic; saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and continue cooking for 5 mins. (If you're not doing the mushrooms, add the spinach where they say to add the mushrooms and skip this step). Set aside to cool.
Beat eggs lightly in medium mixing bowl. Stir in ricotta, basil and salt. Stir in mushroom/spinach mixture.
Spread 3/4 cup Italian Baking Sauce/Marinara sauce over borrom of 13x9-inch baking dish. Fill Manicotti with mushroom/spinach mixture; place in dish. (I find it easiest to cheat and split the shells about halfway and paste it back together) - you can't tell after it's baked. Pour remaining sauce evenly over filled shells, sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, continue baking 5-10 mins until cheese is melted. Makes 6 servings.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Apple Pie

This weekend I made an apple pie. Our family is big into making pies. My mom and grandpa used to compete with each other. It's a fun tradition to keep on going. The crust is an old family recipe. The filling is from Betty is SO good and I highly recommend it!

Apple pie crust:
2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
sugar to sprinkle on the top

Preheat to 425*F.
I make the crust first. Mix the flour, salt & shortening together. Cut the shortening with a knife.
Mix with KitchenAid mixer or with wooden spoon until little balls form from the shortening, about the size of a pea. Add the cold water, mix in. Divide dough into 2. Sprinkle counter with flour (or use silpat). Flour your rolling pin, and roll dough out into a large circle. I slide a thin spatula underneath the dough to loosen it, and then I place the dough in the pan with my hands. Make filling as directed below, and spoon into shell. Roll out the other ball of dough and place on top. gather the sides and roll them into a neat edge. cut off extra dough to place in ripped areas, if there are any. Get a knife and cut holes into it. I usually cut a design or a "T" for my last name, or "A" for apple. Sprinkle sugar on the top before it goes in the oven. Bake at 425*F for 15 minutes, then turn it down to 375*F for 25-30 more minutes. Enjoy!

Apple pie filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 cups peeled & sliced tart apples (8 medium sized apples)
2 T butter (I don't use it, but that's what the recipe calls for)

In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in apples until well mixed. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over filling.

Then follow directions on whatever pie crust you are using.
Here's pictures from the pie I made:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chicken Tortellini

Yum! This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law (and I got her permission to blog about it!)

It sounds a little strange, but it is REALLY good. One of the best dishes I have ever had.

Chicken Tortellini

3 cups cooked, chopped chicken breasts
2 peeled, cubed Granny Smith apples
4 minced green onions
1/2 c miracle whip or mayo (I used lowfat)
1 9 ounce package of cheese stuffed tortellini
1 bunch of fresh spinach, washed and torn
1/2 sunflower seeds
1 8 oz. bottle Italian salad dressing

Mix chicken, apples, green onions and miracle whip or mayo and let stand in fridge overnight. Cook cheese tortellini according to package directions. Combine tortellini with chicken mixture, add spinach and sunflower seeds and toss with salad dressing. Enjoy!