Monday, June 29, 2009

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Fantasy

This is a lighter version of the "Better than almost anything cake". It's a Duncan Hines recipe I have carried around for years, but never made. It rocks!

1 pkg Devil's Food Cake Mix
12 bars (1.4 oz each) chocolate covered toffee bars, divided (I only used 8 total)
3 cups whipping cream, chilled

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an flour 10-inch tube pan

Prepare, bake and cool cake following package directions. Split cake horizontally into 3 layers; set aside. Chop 11 candy bars into pea-size pieces. (I only used 7 candy bars, and I thought it was great) Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Fold candy pieces into whipped cream.

To assemble, place one split cake layer on serving plate. Spread 1 1/2 cups whipped cream mixture on top. Repeat with remaining layers and whipped cream mix. Frost sides and top with remaining filling. Chop remaining candy bar coarsely. Sprinkle over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (I'd chill for 3 or so hours so the cream gets the toffee flavor.)

Helpful hint: Chop toffee bars in food processor fitted with a steel blade.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pasta Milano (from Dick's Grocery)

12oz bag egg noodles
6 T butter
12oz sliced fresh mushrooms (I used an 8oz presliced pkg)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 lb. prosciutto, chopped(prepackaged in deli case)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Grated parmesan
salt and pepper
Cook pasta, drain and rinse a second in hot water. In large skillet, cook 4T butter, mushrooms, prosciutto and garlic 5-7 minutes till mushrooms are tender and meat is a little toasted. Add peas, remaining butter, cooked pasta, salt and pepper and a handful of parmesan. Heat through. Serves 6. **This would also be awesome with a chicken breast sliced thin and cooked in the mix. But the prosciutto ROCKS on it's own!! TRY IT TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!

Salsa Turkey Grill

I have had this little ditty since just after we were married, but I am just getting around to trying it now! This is yummy, and greazzzy!! Yet, it's light enough for a hot summer day. We had cold watermelon with it.

2 slices bread (I used sturdy white)
2 Kraft singles
1 T thick and chunky salsa (they suggested Taco Bell, it's good, but I love the salsa I get from Costco best! I was out.)
2 slices turkey deli meat

Put down in this order: bread, cheese, salsa, turkey, cheese, bread.
Butter outsides and cook in skillet til golden.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Marinated Green Salad (from Father's Day)

1/2 cup vinegar (I use apple cider)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 T poppy seed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 T dry minced onion
Whisk all together, then cover and marinate overnight in fridge.
3-4 heads salad greens, like romaine, red-leaf, spinach etc.
1 red onion chopped or sliced thin
1/2 - 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. bacon fried and crumbled
8oz shredded swiss cheese
Toss dressing and salad together before serving. Makes a lot.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Easy Creamy Gratin Potatoes

So good, and all ingredients you probably already have at home!

4 large russet potatoes, sliced thin.(I peeled mine)
1/2-1 onion, sliced thin into rings
salt and pepper
4T butter
3T flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1-2 cups shredded cheddar or cheese of your liking
Preheat oven to 400. Grease 1 1/2qt dish. Layer 1/2 the potato slices on bottom of dish. Top with onion slices, season with salt and pepper (I added garlic salt too) and dot with 1T butter if you like. Add remaining potatoes and season again. In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in flour and salt and stir constantly 1 minute. Add milk and cook till thickened. Stir in cheese till melted. Pour over potatoes, and cover with foil. (I added a crunchy topping made of corn flakes and butter and it rocked). Bake 1 1/2 hrs. Serves family of 6.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Artisan Free-Form Loaf

This recipe comes from my friend Jennefer Haight. I love how basic it is. After you've made it once, you won't need all these instructions but they come in handy the first time! This is a crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside type of round loaf. I love it! I'm not afraid of yeast bread anymore! You will need a pizza stone and peel!

3 C lukewarm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
Cornmeal for pizza peel

1. Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temp, 100 degrees.

2. Add yeast and salt to water in 5-quart bowl or, preferably in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container. Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve.

3. Mix in flour-kneading is unnecessary. Add all of flour at once, gently scooping up flour, then sweeping the top level with knife; don't press down into flour as you scoop or you'll have too much flour! Mix in standing mixer with dough hook attachment until mixture is uniform. Don't knead! No dry patches! This will yield a dough that is uniformly moist, wet, and loose enough to conform to the shape of the container.

4. Allow to rise. Cover with lid but do not put on air tight. 2 hours. Fully refrigerate dough-3 hours or overnight.

5. The gluten cloak: Don't knead, just cloak and shape a loaf 30-60 seconds. First, prepare a pizza wheel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent your loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1 pound (grapefruit size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it doesn't stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it's not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom doesn't need to look pretty but the correctly shaped loaf will be smooth and cohesive on top. This should only take 30-60 seconds.

6. Rest the loaf and let rise on pizza peel. 40 minutes-don't cover.

7. Preheat oven and pizza stone on middle rack at 450. Place a broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

8. Dust and slash. Dust top of loaf with flour and cut with serrated knife in cross pattern about 1/4 inch deep. Or tick-tack-toe looks nice too.

9. Baking with steam. After preheat, slide loaf onto pizza stone. Quickly but carefully pour 1 cup hot water from tap into the broiler tray and close oven to trap steam. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Let cool on wire rack. You can store remaining dough in refrigerator for 14 days. Leave in plastic container with lid on but not airtight.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

There are so many kinds of strawberry shortcake. This one is my very favorite!!! This is a sweet biscuit-like cake. I got this from my friend in Weiser many years ago.

1 qt strawberries plus 1 cup sugar


2 c flour
2 T sugar
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/3 c shortening
1 c milk

Mix dry ingredients, then add shortening and milk. Mix just til blended. Spread in greased round cake pan. Bake @ 450 for 15-20 mins. Let cool. Top with strawberries and whipped cream. Can make individual shortcakes, 4-6 depending on size. (cook those 15 min, if you make six)