Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TWD: White Peach & Strawberry Galette

So upon hearing what this weeks TWD challenge was I thought "what in the world is a galette?" I ran to get Dorie's Baking cookbook, found the recipe & then went to my best friend Google to see some pictures. Looks like a pie without the sides or top. You can make a fruit galette with anything you'd like. I went to whole foods this weekend and got the most amazing, juicy white peaches & nice looking strawberries. I used a ginger marmalade to spread over the dough thinking it would be a great compliment to the peaches & I was right. The crust..........OMG the crust is soooo good. Really sweet, flaky & perfect. It's not as dense as a pie crust, definitely more light. When I took my first bite.........mmmmm the sweet fruit, creamy custard mixed with the flaky crust. A symphony of flavors exploding in my mouth. I will definitely make this recipe again. I am taking it to work tomorrow for breakfast (I had to try a tiny piece though first to make sure the galette tasted good). But if you feel adventurous, definitely give this a try. It does looks very impressive to serve.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Basil Pesto

Tonight I went over to my friends Shawn & Bonnie's house for dinner. They along with their neighbor Ryan have a huge garden this year. Well in the garden they have a TON of fresh basil. I went out & picked a bunch tonight & came home to make basil pesto. I like this spread on crackers & tossed in warm pasta, which I will probably do for dinner tomorrow.

2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
2 tbs. toasted pine nuts
2 tbs. freshly grated parm (I cheated tonight & used the shaker grated)
1 tbs. sun dried tomatoes
1/4 tsp. minced garlic (I just threw in a large clove)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
couple shakes of rosemary (I prefer fresh but had to go with dried)
1/4 cup plus 1 tbs, EVOO

Mix everything in a food processor except the EVOO. Once blended drizzle EVOO. You can add more salt/pepper to taste. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday's With Dorie ~~ Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

This is my first every Tuesday's With Dorie & I was so excited to make something I normally wouldn't have otherwise. I'm not a huge rhubarb girl, so was kinda iffy on how I would like this dessert. I had all of the ingredients except the rhubarb, so made a quick trip to Whole Foods (LOVE this place) and picked up 4 stalks. I picked these cherries myself from a family members cherry tree. This dessert is a sweet, slighty tart fruit mixture with a very light slighty salty biscuit topping. The first bite was really good, then going on the 2nd bite, I found myself picking out the rhubarb. The sweet fruit blended nicely with the fluffy biscuit topping. The topping is made with both all-purpose & whole wheat flour. A nice scoop of vanilla ice cream would be great, or I topped with some dream whip & sprinkled with cinnamon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Buttercream Pretzels

Yes you heard me right. Buttercream Pretzels. I was sitting in the kitchen munching on pretzels trying to figure out what I can do with some left over buttercream I had in the fridge. I sat straight up, was blinded by the lightbulb & OH SNAP............why not put buttercream on pretzels. Yeah yeah I know it's not off the pages of Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig but who gives a dern....I popped one of these little pieces in my mouth & woooooooo doggy......the sweet creamy buttercream mixed with the crunchy salty pretzels was like magic in my mouth. Ah I'll start WW tomorrow...these are too good to just be all cute & pretty. Try it out & I bet you my 401k you'll love it.
Disclaimer: The above referenced comment about my 401k is completely false, however an addendum is in place that should I turn my 401k over to you for not liking my creation, you must take me in, give me shelter, food & water for the rest of my life seeing as I'll be in the poor house after giving you my loot. Deal? Oh I might add, I require steak & lobster, champaign wishes & caviar dreams, oh & a foot massage each night..........................Yeah I'd turn this deal down too :)

Merrill's Hot Dog Sauce

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend my 4th of July down in the peaceful hollers of Kentucky at my friend Melanie's father's house. Tom is his name & he's the sweetest UK fan you'll ever meet. Well Tom done gone & got himself a good woman and even better, that good woman can cook some GOOD food. Merrill is her name (down in Kentucky it's pronounced Merle) & she's as nice as can be. While sitting around she looked over & asked me "Megan do you want some hot dog sauce?" I said ummm ok, but what do you mean? Merrill looked at me like I was nuts "hot dog sauce!!"......ooohhkay....but what do you mean Merrill and she said "honey it's the sauce you put on top of your hot dogs." I said ohhhh okay you mean coney sauce? "No, I mean hot dog sauce." So us Northern folks coney sauce is the Southern folks "hot dog sauce". I took a bite & let me tell ya...............mmm mmm mmm heavens to Bestey it was phenomenal. Sure beats the Dairy Queen sauce I'm used to :) Not only is this hot dog sauce phenomenal it's simple as pie. Take a look.

Brown 1lb. Ground Beef

Once brown add 1 can tomato soup, 2Tbs. Sugar, Chili Powder, Salt & Pepper to taste & mix till combined & warm.
Top on your favorite hotdog & there you have Merrill's HOT DOG SAUCE !! You can top with onions or cheese if you do so please (it's the Kentucky sweetness coming out in me).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vanilla Lemon Cupcakes & Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

So if you've never heard of Dorie Greenspan & you love to bake I highly encourage you to run, dash, bolt, hop-skip & jump your way to get her cookbook "Baking from my home to yours" cookbook. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cookbook. Below is the link for it on Amazon.

Dorie's book has beautiful photographs of several desserts & it makes you want to throw on an apron, roll up your sleeves and bake the day away. So yesterday evening I did just that. I made Dorie's Party Cake which is a moist white cake flavored with a hint of lemon. Instead of baking a cake I made cupcakes - which is my most favorite dessert & thing to bake ever in this world. I also made vanilla buttercream frosting for the topping. Normally I like to be nice & make pretty cupcakes, but I was so tired I just slopped the yummy frosting on top. The mix of the lemon & vanilla buttercream was soooo good & fresh tasting. I'll definitely be making this cake again.

Seriously though Dori's Baking cookbook is wonderful & if you have any bakers you know this would make the perfect gift. Enjoy the pics. Warning though: LOTS of milk will be consumed with these cupcakes..........ice cold of course :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jumbo Stuffed Shells

I made this late last night for dinner since I had all the ingredients on hand. I've never made stuffed shells before & I have to say I really liked it alot. This will most definitely go in my recipe arsenal & I'm sure will be made a couple of times a month.

1 box Jumbo Shells
1lb. Ground Beef
2Tbs. Olive Oil
1C. finely Chopped Onions
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1Tsp. Salt
1Tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/4tsp. Black Pepper
1/8tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1 egg
1/4C. Heavy Cream
1/4C. Fresh Grated Parmigiano Cheese
1 Large Jar Of Spaghetti Sauce
1 Regular Bag of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook shells as directed on the package. Add Italian Seasoning to ground beef & cook till done & drain grease. Add olive oil, onion, garlic and let that cook with meat for about 10 min on medium heat. Add rest of seasonings & mix well. Stir in egg, cream & parmigano cheese. Ground Beef Mixture should be wet but not runny.

In a 9x13 or larger pan spread some spaghetti sauce till it covers bottom. Take your meat mixture & fill shells. Lay stuffed shells together in a row till complete. Top with rest of spaghetti sauce & then cover with mozzarella. I cover mine with foil & bake for 30 minutes at 350. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Southern Red Velvet Cupcakes

A few years ago I visited my friend Keri in Atlanta and she took us to the cutest little kitchy restaurant called Agnes & Muriels. It was there I had my first piece of red velvet cake. I've never had it again and I'm currently trying to come up with various staple cupcake recipes & I knew red velvet had to be on the list. These cupcakes turned out so light & fluffy. Probably the most fluffy & light cupcake or cake I think I have had. Normally when it comes to cream cheese I only like it on bagels, but this icing............uh mah goooooodness as my friend Melanie would say. Soooo flippin creamy, buttery and sweet. The perfect topping for these yummy red velvet gems.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Texas Sheet Cake

If you are a choco-holic then this cake is for you. A super moist chocolate cake with a rich fudgy chocolate frosting is what you can expect. You've heard that saying "it's so good you wanna slap your momma?" Well you may have to go back a generation & include your grand-momma too one this one. This recipe I cannot claim however. I visit an awesome blog by Ree aka: The Pioneerwoman. She has great recipes & a really cool site. If you want to visit & find the recipe her site is: http://www.thepioneerwoman.com/ Here are some pictures to tempt your taste buds. This recipe definitely calls for a super big glass of cold milk. Mmmmmm

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chocolate Vanilla Cream Filled Cupcakes

For those of you not in or around this area, there is a fabulous bakery called Schulers. It's a Springfield, Ohio staple. Kids grow up on the stuff (us included), adults love it & residents that move out of town make it a first stop when visiting. Yes folks it's THAT good.

My brother Michael & my sister Kerry & I all have the same favorite, the chocolate cream filled donuts. I once hauled a dozen of these things on a plane to San Francisco for my brother. Let's just say I was pretty popular & got alot of bribes on the airplane. In an attempt to roll this favorite dessert cupcake style, I fiddled around & LET ME TELL YOU...........what I came up with is so good it doesn't even make any sense. Folks we're talking eyes roll back in your head, loss of words good. I took them to work & people went nuts over them. Bobby took some to his work too & got mobbed. So if you have some time & have alot of folks to feed give this recipe a try.

Yield: close to 40 cupcakes
Baking Time: 20 minutes
Temp: 350 degrees

My Prize Winning Chocolate Cake Recipe
(I make b-day cakes with this all the time)

2C. Boiling Water
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1C. Cocoa Powder
1C. Butter at room temp
2 3/4 C. Flour
2 1/4 C. Sugar
2 Tsp. Baking Soda
4 eggs
1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla

In medium bowl mix cocoa with boiling water & whisk until blended. Set aside till cool (I never wait till fully cool). Sift flour, soda, powder & salt - set aside. In a large bowl cream butter & sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla. Alternate adding the flour & cocoa mixture to the creamed eggs & sugar till all is combined. Add to cupcake tins & bake for around 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Frosting
(If you're not keen on making your own frosting you can go buy some tubs of the pre-made stuff)

1/2 - 3/4 C. Cocoa
16oz. Bag Powdered Sugar
6 Tbs. Soft Butter - NOT margarine
6 Tbs. Milk
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

I cream the butter first then add the cocoa & powdered sugar followed by the milk & vanilla extract.

Cream Filling
1/4 C. Butter
1/4 C. Shortening
2 C. Powdered Sugar
1 pack Dream Whip
3 Tbs. Milk
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

Cream butter & crisco. In a seperate bowl combine dream whip with powdered sugar. Slowly mix dry ingredients in with wet. Add milk & vanilla & whip for 1 minute until fluffy.

Make sure your cupcakes are cool. Cut a big chunk/hole in the top of each cupcake saving the top part you dig out. Get a pastry bag & fill it with the cream filling. Pipe cream filling into each center & put the top part you cut away back on & push down a little to secure. Frost the cupcakes & then pipe a dollup of cream filling on top of each cupcake. Enjoy!!


Tonights dinner consists of a big ol pan of homemade Mac-N-Cheese. I honestly didn't follow a recipe and just threw stuff together & I think I'll stick to a recipe next time. Was a tiny dry for me...I like mine ooey & gooey. The top crumbs are Shake & Bake Herb Ranch coating. Was really good on top. None the less it was tasty & definitely hit the spot. Tomorrow I will be grilling 8oz New York Strip steaks with an herb butter.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thai Chili Cupcakes

So I've been on a mission to create some unique flavored cupcakes. I have a list of 10 I want to try out. The Thai Chili is my 1st & OMG OMG OMG is it gooooood. This will definitely go in my top recipe folder. Check out my description of the uber fabulous cakes below:

Rich peanut butter cake with decadent coconut milk buttercream infused with the slightest hint of cayenne & topped with a crunchy golden toasted coconut

Thai Chili Cupcakes

Yield: 18 Cupcakes
Baking Time: 20 Minutes
Temp: 350 degrees

Toasted Coconut
½ bag of sweetened coconut

Make your toasted coconut first so it has time to cool before you put on frosted cupcakes. Take ½ bag of sweetened coconut & spread on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees till golden color. Be sure to watch this carefully because coconut can easily burn.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes
¼ C. Butter
¼ C. Peanut Butter
1C. Sugar
2 eggs
1C. Buttermilk
1 ½ C. Flour
1 ¼ Tsp. Baking Powder
½ Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350. Mix butter, peanut butter & sugar till smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time & then add the buttermilk. Sift all dry ingredients together & add to wet mixture. Pour into cupcake papers/mold & bake for 20 minutes.

Coconut Chili Butter Cream Frosting

½ C. Butter
½ C. Shortening/Crisco
4 C. Powdered Sugar
¼ Tsp. salt
1 ½ Tsp. Coconut Extract
3-4oz. Coconut Milk
4-5 dashes of Cayenne Pepper or to taste

Cream shortening & butter till fluffy. Add powdered sugar & continue creaming. Add salt, Coconut Extract & Coconut Milk. Blend on medium in mixer till fluffy. Sprinkle in Cayenne. If frosting is so stiff you can gradually add a little more coconut milk or more powdered sugar if too runny.


Once cupcakes are completely cool, frost with coconut chili butter cream frosting & roll top into bowl of toasted coconut. Grab a tall glass of milk & enjoy your cupcakes!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Crockpot Beef Tamale Pie

I had the day off so wanted to throw something in the crockpot to allow me to check off all my household to do items for the day. A fiends of mine at work brought in the crockpot beef tamale pie & I tried a little & fell in love. So I made it today, had it in the crockpot for 6 hours and mmm mmm mmm it didn't dissapoint. I'm sure Bobby will be drooling over himself when he gets home from work.

Here is the recipe if you would like to try your hand at this yummy recipe.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours,
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
15 oz. can kidney beans rinsed and drained
10 oz. can enchilada sauce
6 oz. pkg. corn mufifn mix
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. oil
1 egg
1 cup shredded Colby cheese
4 oz. can chopped green chilies, undrained
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation:In nonstick skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is cooked. Drain thoroughly and stir in drained kidney beans and enchilada sauce. Pour into 4-5 quart crockpot. In large bowl, mix together corn muffin mix, milk, butter and egg just until combined. Then add cheese and chilies, including chili liquid. Spoon over beef in crockpot. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the corn bread mixture comes out clean. In small bowl combine sour cream, salsa, and cilantro; serve with pie. 4 servings

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza & Strawberry Cream Cake

Bobby & I went to Eastern, Kentucky this Thursday for the 4th of July weekend. We went to a super duper country town called Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook is famous for being the hometown of Keith Whitley, the famous country music star that was once married to Lorrie Morgan. We had a great time. The land is beautiful, the pace slow and it's definitely a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Corporate America in the city. So today I was in a cooking mood. I went to the grocery. Which by the way I am on a kick for bargain groceries & coupon cutting. I have saved a ton of money with coupons & honestly can't imagine shopping without them. I bet I save $80/mo. Ok anyways. Tonight for dinner I made a homemade BBQ chicken pizza with crumbled bacon, grilled BBQ chicken, carmelized onions & mozzarella & a white cake with homemade flavored strawberry whipped cream & a vanilla cream frosting. Took pieces of cake over to all the neighbors & they LOVED it. I would so love to open a business that involved cooking or baking. Hmmmm what to do, what to do.