Friday, January 30, 2015

Cannoli Dip

Yay, another Cannoli recipe!


Picture from Pinterest
Have I told you how much we love Cannoli in my house?   Yes, I probably did!  If you've never had it before, I have to say you're missing out on something wonderful!   They are a crispy, tube-like, filled dessert with the most delicious cream inside, then sprinkled with powdered sugar.  My idea of a little taste of heaven.

This morning I found a recipe on Pinterest for Cannoli Dip and since I had all the ingredients, I felt it was my duty to try it out!   I decided to make this for our Super Bowl party in two days.    Just a few, magical minutes later, it was done.  Next, I placed it in an airtight container and put it in my garage refrigerator (this way, I won't see it and grab a spoonful or two...or three.) 

I did find this recipe to be a bit too thin, so I thickened it with a little flour.  I just added it by tablespoons until I liked the thickness.  You may like it thinner, and that's fine too...the flavor was spectacular either way!


Ingredients:

8 oz. Mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups Ricotta
1 1/4 cup Confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 cup Mini chocolate chips (safe some for the topping)

In a large mixing bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, ricotta, confectioner's sugar, vanilla and heavy cream.  Mix with an electric beater until smooth and well blended.  Stir in mini chocolate chips, saving some to decorate top.

Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the mini chocolate chips.

Serve chilled, with waffle cookies, vanilla wafers, shortbread cookies or whatever you would enjoy.


"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9


Monday, January 26, 2015

Old-fashioned Potato Salad

Like my mom used to make!

I remember the first time I made potato salad, my husband was helping and wanted to drain the potatoes for me.  He asked me if we had a colander, and I said, "Yes, it's hanging on the wall."  He called to me again that he didn't see one on the wall.  So I went and showed him the date, day and month on our wall calendar. 

After he stopped laughing, he finally found the colander, and showed me what he was talking about.  My response was "That's not a calendar, that's a scola pasta!"  Okay...now, in my defense, I'd never heard it called anything but a "scola pasta" which means "colander" in Italian.  It took me awhile to learn that most kitchen utensils had another name...usually one that didn't end in a  vowel. 

My mom made great potato salad, without a recipe, of course.  I've used this one from my Betty Crocker book and it tastes so much like hers, that it's the only one I ever use anymore. 

This is one of those recipes you can taste along the way and add extra seasonings that you and your family enjoy.  You can peel the potatoes or use the small red ones and leave the skin on them.  Some cooks like to add mustard or relish...it's all up to you.  It's okay to play with your food.  Ha!
 

Ingredients:

2 lbs. potatoes (about 6 medium) peeled & cubed
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. Italian salad dressing
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. chopped celery
4 hard boiled eggs, divided

Wash potatoes.  Heat a pan of salted water to boiling.  Add potatoes.  Cover tightly; heat to boiling and cook about 5 minutes or until tender. 

Pour into colander and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain well; combine in bowl with onion.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper; mix with Italian salad dressing.  Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, add mayonnaise; toss until potatoes are well coated.  Stir in celery and 2 of the eggs, chopped.

Slice the other 2 eggs and arrange around the top; sprinkle with paprika for a little color and a bit of freshly chopped parsley.


"Our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are."  1 John 3:1



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mom's "Spanish" Rice with Ground Beef

A favorite, quick meal!






























My mom made this from the time I can remember, and it's always been a family favorite with everyone!  I don't think it's really a "Spanish" style rice, but that's what she always called it, and I just don't have another name for it!  Ha!  We make this as a main dish, but if you leave out the ground beef, it's a great side dish with chicken or beef.

I haven't tried to change it, or make it taste more like a Spanish dish because we all love it just as it is.  But, if you'd like the flavor to match the name, just add a cup of chunky salsa with the tomato sauce, a couple of teaspoons of chili powder, or a blend of Rotelle with it. 

This is one of those recipes you can "play" with to suit your family's taste.  So, go ahead, and have fun!


Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
Mixed before serving

1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic
1 (15oz.) can tomato sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt

In a skillet, brown ground beef; drain.

Stir in the onion, green pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until the vegetables are tender.

Add tomato sauce, salt and pepper.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes on low.

Bring rice, water and salt to a boil; cover and lower heat, let cook 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Scoop rice into bowls and cover with the sauce mixture. 
(I like serving it this way instead of mixing it altogether, because some family members like more sauce than others.   But, you can mix it together in the pan before serving.)

Yields: 6-8 servings.


The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.  The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.   -Psalm 28:7,8

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Banana Nut Muffins

Make half with nuts and half with chocolate chips.

Uh huh...brown bananas in the fruit bowl again.  What is it with bananas, anyway?  They either disappear in minutes, or days go by and I'm left with brown ones.  So what else could I do?  Gotta bake something!

I did find out my grandson-in-law, Matt's, little technique.  Today, he confessed that the minute he hears someone say, "The bananas are getting too ripe!", he immediately stops eating them.  Well, there is a "method to his madness" because he knows I'll use them for baking rather than let them go to waste.  It's a good plan!  Ha!


Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 chopped nuts
1/2 cup mini chocolate morsels (optional)


Preheat oven to 350'F.

Cream shortening and sugar.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; add to creamed mixture.

Add remaining ingredients; mix well.

Pour into lined cupcake tins.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.


For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  -Ephesians 2:8-9






Friday, January 16, 2015

Texas Sheet Cake

Yeeeehaaaw!

Texas Sheet Cake is probably the most delicious chocolate sheet cake you could ever eat!  It's also easy to prepare and uses ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry.  You're going to love this fudgy, buttery cake and so will your entire family! 

We have nut allergies in our family, so I leave them out of the frosting (never missed them).  But, if you like, you can add 1/2 cup pecans to the frosting.  Don't you love a recipe that you can make your own? 

When it's all done, go get that glass of milk, sit down with a big piece of "chocolate heaven" and enjoy the best chocolate cake EVER! 

 
 

Preheat oven to 375'F.  Grease and flour a 10x15" jelly roll pan.

Directions:

Combine into large bowl:
 
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Bring to a boil, then add to dry ingredients in bowl:
1 cup butter
4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (heaping)
1 cup water

In separate bowl, combine:
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour cream

Stir into first mixture. 

Pour into prepared 10x15 jelly roll pan.

Bake at 375'F. for 20-25 minutes. 

Frost cake while still hot.

*Frosting: (Prepare while cake is baking)
1/2 cup butter
4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (heaping)
Melt together in saucepan.

Add:
1 tsp. vanilla (stir into icing before adding the rest)
1 lb. confectioners' sugar (approx. 3 cups)
4-6 Tbsp. milk or enough for spreading easily.

*I use an electric hand mixer to make it as smooth as possible...works every time.  Pour warm frosting over warm cake, it sinks into the cake a little and makes it so moist.

Let set for about 1/2 hour before cutting, frosting will firm up better after a couple of hours, but you probably won't be able to wait that long.   I know I can't!



"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."   -Isaiah 26:3 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cannoli Poke Cake

Holy Cannoli!  This is yummy!
 
 
One of my favorite cakes...ever!
I don't know about you, but I love poke cakes.  They're super easy to make, always moist and always a crowd pleaser!

This one became my grandson-in-law's birthday cake this week, and it was a hit.  Besides Matt's birthday, my cousin and her husband were visiting, so they all became my guinea pigs.  Ha!

The only thing that I changed from the original recipe was to lower the amount of the sweetened condensed milk that they said to add to the cannoli "icing".  It was meant to be soft and runny, but for my taste, it was a little too soft, and a little too runny.  I also strained the ricotta longer and that made it just a bit thicker.  I know...I'm so fussy! 

The flavor of this cake is delicious and most definitely reminiscent of cannoli.  I will make this again!  Next time, though, I'm going to have to try it with chocolate cake...well, you know, what's a chocoholic to do? 
 
  
Ingredients:
 
1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients on box
1 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, optional
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
powdered sugar, for dusting


Instructions:

Bake cake according to directions on box for a 9x13 pan.

Allow cake to cool completely.
 
Poke holes all over the top of the cake. (I used a straw) 
 
Reserve 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk and pour the rest of the sweetened condensed milk over the cake. 
 
Put cake in refrigerator for about an hour to absorb milk.
 
Combine ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract in a mixer bowl. Beat until smooth.
 
Add powdered sugar and cinnamon, if using and mix until combined.
 
Add reserved sweetened condensed milk and mix until combined.
 
Once cake has absorbed milk, spread cannoli topping evenly over cake.
 
Top with mini chocolate chips and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
 
Cover cake and allow to set in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Cake should keep for 4-5 days.


"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."  -Colossians 4:2 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chocolate Eclair Dessert

So rich and creamy...and easy!

This recipe is super easy and tastes great!   You need to let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the crackers to soak up the pudding mix and soften...fabulous! 

A dear friend gave this recipe to me years ago and it's a keeper.  Especially, when you don't have the time or inclination to make Chocolate Éclairs from scratch, but still want that delicious flavor of one.   This will be your go-to recipe for that, I promise!




Ingredients:

1 (14 oz.) box graham crackers (regular or chocolate)
2 (3.5 oz.) pkgs. Instant French Vanilla pudding
3 cups whole milk (Half & Half works well too.)
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping (thawed)
1 can dark chocolate frosting*

Mix together instant pudding and milk with wire whisk.  Fold in Cool Whip until blended; set aside or refrigerate until ready to assemble dessert.

Layer the bottom of a 9x13" pan with graham crackers, then spread 1/2 of pudding over the crackers.  Repeat by adding the rest of the pudding and top that with graham crackers.

Now you're ready to frost.

Melt 1 can dark chocolate frosting in microwave or pan of hot water.  Pour over the top of graham crackers and spread smoothly.

Refrigerate until frosting is set...that's it! 

*If you'd rather make your own icing, here's a great recipe.

Chocolate Icing:

4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. milk


Sift the cocoa and confectioners' sugar until lump are removed.

Place into a small saucepan and add the remaining icing ingredients.  Heat and stir over moderate heat until dissolved and butter is melted. 

Immediately pour over graham crackers and spread evenly to cover completely.  You'll want to do this while the frosting is still warm, it thickens quickly and is hard to spread.

Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. 


 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?   -Mark 8:36


































                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
 
 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Garden Vegetable Soup

My "go to" W.W. soup!

Ahhh...Weight Watchers...my friend for years!  It's probably the only diet plan that actually will keep the weight off and teach you how to eat healthy.   My "go to" plan whenever I feel the extra weight creeping back up...which, unfortunately, happens often. 

Photo by "Tinkerbell"
Yes, like many of us, I've been battling the bulge for what seems like forever!  But, any time I want to get serious about my poor eating habits, this is the one diet that always works.  No fads or quick fixes...just plain ol' common sense eating.

My grandmother took me to my first meeting about 45 years ago, after I'd had my first baby and wanted to get rid of that baby weight I'd gained.  I'll never forget her sitting there with me, holding my hand and encouraging my to join, and then helping me through those first weeks. 

The beauty of this recipe is that you can "play" with it, and make it your own.  And, this is a great base to a delicious vegetable soup and there's nothing that tastes "diet" about it!

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil, extra virgin
2/3 cup carrots, sliced or chopped
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
1 1/2-2 cups cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup green beans
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Pour 1 Tbsp. olive oil into large soup pot; sauté onions, carrots and garlic over low heat or until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, tomato paste, cabbage, green beans, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and salt.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; let simmer for about 15 minutes or until all vegetables are tender; add zucchini and simmer for another 5 minutes for so.

You can customize this with your favorite veggies or even add diced chicken, and small pasta.  Of course, then it isn't as "low-cal" as just the veggies alone.  But, you already knew that! 


Trust trust in the Lord, He will make a way.  "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man."   -Psalms 118:8

Friday, January 2, 2015

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

Mouth-watering!

In 1973, a friend gifted me with a really sweet little Fondue cookbook.  Fondue was the big thing back then, and has gained popularity again in recent years.   Anyway, in this book there is a great recipe for stuffed mushrooms.  I don't know why they're in there, since you don't fondue them, guess they would be good with a fondue dinner.

Now, I realize there are about a gazillion recipes for this tasty side dish or appetizer, and we all have our favorites.  This one is mine, and I really think you'll like it too!  It's easy to prepare and usually disappears within minutes of serving them.

Give them a try, you're going to love them!

Ingredients:

1 lb. large mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese 
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1-2 tsp. parsley
1/8 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter

Preheat oven to 350'F. 

Clean mushrooms; remove stems and reserve. 

Sauté whole mushroom caps in oil until coated with oil and lightly colored.  Drain on paper towel. 

Chop stems to make 1/2 cup; sauté with onion and garlic, adding more oil if necessary.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, oregano, salt & pepper. 

Spoon the mixture into mushroom caps.  Dot with butter. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes.




Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.  -1 Corinthians 16:13

Thursday, January 1, 2015

White Wine Cake

 A cake with wine...oh, yes!

The first time I had this was a few years ago at a Christmas gathering for a group of women who are always fun to be around, and love to inspire each other.  They inspire my friend, Cheryl, to make this whenever we get together.  Hehe!

I heard about this cake over the years, but never had the opportunity to try it...so glad I finely did.  This semi-homemade cake is fantastic! 

It's a simple cake that works perfectly during the holidays, on a buffet table or in a picnic basket!  And you won't believe the aroma that comes from your oven during baking!

The alcohol bakes off and leaves just the flavor.  It's very moist and has been a favorite since my first taste!  "Your family and friends will devour this cake...and then ask for more!


Ingredients:
                                                   
                
                
                
                
 
                
                
                
                
                
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.  -Proverbs 23:18