Recent Recipes

Cinnamon Apple Muffins and Brunch Casserole

Comments (0) | Monday, June 21, 2010

These muffins were outstanding and the perfect pairing to one of my favorite brunch casseroles. Our special Father's Day breakfast that I got to share with both my husband (the best darn daddy in the whole world) and my dad!

As a side note on muffins, I'm convinced that the right pan makes a world of difference. For Mother's Day my mom got me a very nice aluminum muffin pan and it hasn't done me wrong. Or maybe I'm just getting better at making muffins. I don't know. But the 10 year old nonstick pan went in the donation pile... good riddance.

Everyone I've ever made this casserole for or given the recipe to has absolutely loved it. Enjoy!

Sunday Brunch Casserole

6-8 bacon strips (or approx. 2 cups chopped cooked ham)

1 small onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 (16 oz.) carton egg substitute (or an additional 6-7 eggs)

4 eggs

1 cup milk

4 cups frozen shredded hash browns

1 cup shredded cheese

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp dry dill weed

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, crumble and set aside. In same skillet, saute onion and bell pepper until tender. Remove and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk eggs, egg substitute and milk. Stir in remaining ingredients and add reserved bacon and onion mixture. Transfer to a 9x13 dish coated with cooking spray. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

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Chocolate Coconut Devils

Comments (0) | Thursday, June 3, 2010

One of Brendan's favorite things to help with in the kitchen is making cookies. At the age of almost 4-years he has become quite the helper and I welcome his company in the kitchen. He scoops, he pours, he measures... and he can tell you matter-of-factly that as soon as he turns 5 he will learn the art of cracking eggs. These were fun to make and great to eat!

*I used Nestle Chocolatier Bittersweet Chcolate but only had 4 oz. so I added some Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips and would probably add about a 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract to give them a little extra coconut flavor.

Chocolate Coconut Devils

2 2/3 cups lightly packed sweetened coconut (one 7-oz. bag)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa, spooned in and leveled
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups superfine baker's sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

Place the flaked coconut in a food processor and pulse 6-8 times or until medium chopped. Set aside. Strain together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a medium glass bowl set over simmering water (or a double boiler), on low heat, melt the butter. Add the copped chocolates and heat until just melted, gently stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and keep warm.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium speed until light. Gradually add the superfine sugar over about 2 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed. Stop the mixer and pour in melted chocolate mixture, then mix on medium speed just until combined. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients. Remove the bowl from mixer and let the batter rest for about 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Then sprinkle handfuls of coconut over the batter, folding briefly with a large rubber spatula after each addition. Do not combine thoroughly. Some of the coconut flakes should still be visible.

Drop by heaping teaspoons onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are just set. Cookies will firm as they cool. Let stand for 1-2 minutes then loosen from pan with spatula and transfer to cooling racks.

variation: fold in 1 cup chopped toasted pecans with the coconut.

* recipe provided courtesy of "Great Cookies: secrets to sensational sweets" by Carole Walter

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Stuffed Flank Steak

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I've never been a huge fan of beef but I've taken a liking to it more and more lately. I'd like to think I can prepare it rather well and I tend to pick the leanest cuts for a healthier choice. This one, however, was stunning both to the eye and the palate. Served with a side of roasted asparagus and orzo pilaf (both recipes available upon request.) Even Brendan enjoyed the meal and gave me his sweet customary "Mommy, you make SUCH good dinner!" (I love that boy...)

Stuffed Flank Steak

1 flank steak (about 1.5 pounds)
1/2 of 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 ounces (1/2 cup) sun-dried tomato or herb-garlic flavored feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place a rack in a shallow baking pan. Coat with cooking spray.

Lay steak on work surface. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and pound to an even thickness. In a bowl, combine spinach, feta, bread crumbs, 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the egg white. Season steak with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Press spinach mixture onto steak leaving a 1-inch border. Beginning on a short end, roll up to enclose filling. Tie steak at 2-inch intervals with cotton twine.

Rub steak with remaining salt and pepper. Heat remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer steak to prepared rack. Roast at 425 for 35 minutes or until internal temperature registers 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove meat from oven; let rest, covered, 10 minutes before slicing.

*NOTE* I could not find a sun-dried tomato flavored feta cheese and coincidentally already had some plain feta cheese in my fridge. I purchased a bottle of oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped up a handful and added it into the mixture with the plain feta cheese... delicious!

*recipe provided courtesy of Family Circle magazine

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Chicken Carne Asada Tacos

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No, the recipe did not call for homemade tortillas but I ran across an incredibly simple recipe and decided to give it a try. Not only was it a ton of fun, but storebought tortillas will never compare. I'm not a huge fan of corn tortillas as they tend to fall apart so easily. These tacos were amazing and as Joe told me, I could quote him saying "Mmmmmm!!" We couldn't stop raving. Perfect paired with a side of black beans and corn (and an ice cold margarita.)

Homemade Tortillas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in water and oil. Turn onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 times. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7-inch circle.
In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook tortillas over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Keep warm.

*NOTE* When rolling portions into circles, do NOT stack them on top of each other unless seperated by wax paper... My 8 tortillas turned into one fat tortilla by the time I finished rolling them all and I had to start over, dividing them and rolling them a second time!

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Greek Turkey Burgers

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OK, so I don't have a picture for this one. I promise I will not be slacking off much but this recipe (and most burgers in general) was not very photogenic. I have to say honestly that all of the pictures I post are my very own photos and are not doctored in any way (have you HEARD what they do to the food they take pictures of for magazines and cookbooks???) This one you'll just have to take my word for. They were absolutely FABULOUS! I served them on toasted Oroweat Sandwich Thins which have become a favorite of ours since you get to taste so much more of the burger that way (AND cut down on calories from a filling bun...) I also cut out the olives in half of the Olive-Tomato Relish since the only two things my husband will not eat are olives and mushrooms. Brendan and I, however, LOVE olives so we splurged with ours.

Greek Turkey Burgers

1 egg white
1/3 cup dry wheat bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. milk
1 (0.7-oz.) envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1 lb. ground uncooked turkey or chicken
4 pita bread rounds, sandwich thins, or whole wheat buns
1 recipe Olive-Tomato Relish (below)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a large bowl, use a whisk to beat egg white; stir in bread crumbs, milk, and half of the dry salad dressing mix. Add turkey; mix well. Set aside remaining dry salad dressing mix for relish. Shape turkey mixture into four 3/4-inch thick patties. Place patties on grill rack directly over medium heat; grill for 14 to 18 minutes turning once, halfway through grilling. Serve patties on buns with feta cheese and Olive-Tomato Relish.

Olive-Tomato Relish: In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil and reserved salad dressing mix. Stir in 1 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped cucumber, and 1/4 cup chopped kalamata or ripe olives. Serve on top of burgers.

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