Monday, December 22, 2008

Pecan Pralines Cookies

2 cups pecans (chopped)
1/2 pound butter/margarine (2 sticks)
4 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour

Mix the butter/margarine, powdered sugar, and vanilla together. Then add the flour, a little bit at a time, and the pecans. Roll into 1/4 - 1/2 inch balls then cover with powdered sugar. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Cover with sugar again after they are baked, and then again when they are cool. Makes about 30-50 depending on size.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
granulated sugar, colored sugar, or cinnamon sugar
icing, optional

Preparation:Beat butter and shortening together with an electric mixer. Add sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Beat until well combined, scraping bowl. Beat in egg and vanilla then as much flour as you can with the electric mixer. Stir in the remaining flour. Cover and chill for 1 to 3 hours; working with 1/2 of the dough at a time, cut into desired shapes. If desired, sprinkle with colored sugar, granulated sugar, or cinnamon sugar before baking. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 350° for about 8 to 10 minutes, or just until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Ice when cooled, if desired. Makes about 36 cookies.

Pecan Pralines (Candy version)

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
dash salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups pecan halves, lightly toasted*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
butter for baking sheet

Preparation:In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in the granulated and brown sugars, dash salt, and heavy cream. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the lid and boil until temperature reaches 242° on the candy thermometer, or almost firm ball stage. A small amount of the mixture, when added to cold water, will form a soft ball which will hold its shape and not flatten. Stir in the toasted pecans. Remove from heat and beat in flavoring. Continue beating until the candy loses its glossiness, becomes creamy in appearance, and begins to thicken. Have a buttered baking sheet or waxed paper lined baking sheet ready. Quickly drop the candy mixture by tablespoons onto the greased cookie sheet. Wrap pralines individually in plastic wrap to store.

*To toast nuts, spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350° oven, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Or, toast in an ungreased skillet over medium heat, stirring, until light golden brown and aromatic.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

One 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp vanilla
6 eggs

Preheat over to 300
Mix cream cheese and butter until creamy
Add sugar, and mix well
Add vanilla
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition
Slowly mix in flour

Flour and grease a bundt cake pan.

Bake at 300 for 1 hour 45 minutes (Time will vary. It only took 1 hour 30 minutes in my oven.)
Let cool for 15 minutes in pan before removing.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chicken Parm

This recipe isn't exact. I usually just make it up as I go. It's pretty hard to ruin. This "recipe" feeds 2.

For the chicken:
1/2 cup of Panko Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
2 tsp. of dried Parsley
2 T. of butter
1 clove of garlic
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in thirds

Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese and parsely together in a bowl. Sautee the garlic in the butter. Dip your chicken pieces in the butter then roll them around in the bread crumb mixture. Make sure to get as many crumbs onthe chicken as possible.

For the Marinara Sauce:
1 small can of petite diced tomatoes
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
a few dashes of dried oregano
a few dashes of dried basil
1 tsp. of sugar
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 an onion
salt and pepper

Sautee the garlic and onion in butter or olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer.

I usually top the chicken with provolone or swiss cheese, but I forgot to this last time. It makes it much prettier! My husband thinks I slaved over this meal, but I never tell him how easy it really is. Serve it with some tasty homemade garlic bread and your fave vegetable. Delish!

Potato Cheese Soup

1 cup of finely chopped onion
1 cup of finely chopped celery
2-3 cups of potatoes

1 pint of half and half
1 pint of milk (2 cups)
1/2 T sugar
1/2 tsp. of salt
pepper to taste

1/2 cup of butter
3/4 cup of flour

8oz. of Velveeta cheese

Shredded carrots
dried parslsey

*Put the potatoes, celery and onions in a large pot. Cover with water (don't put too much water, just enough to cover the potatoes) and cook until potatoes are done - but not mushy. Don't drain the water.

*While the potatoes are cooking, mix the half and half, milk, sugar, salt and pepepr in a bowl. Set aside.

*Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Slowly add the flour (I usually use a whisk). After the butter and flour are mixed together, slowly pour in the milk mixture. Continue stirring until the mixture is very warm and getting thick. Add the velveeta cheese and continue stirring until the cheese has completely melted.

*Add your cheese mixture directly to the large pot of potatoes, onion, celery and water. Mix all together and you have the yummiest soup ever!

Slow-Cooker Recipe: Vegetable Stew

This stick-to-your-ribs vegetarian dish can be served over barley, couscous, or millet. Cook whichever grain you choose separately, according to the label directions, and spoon the colorful stew over it just before serving.

4 large carrots, diagonally sliced into 2-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained

Combine the carrots, turnips, onion, garlic, tomatoes (with their liquid), broth, salt, cumin, and pepper flakes in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 6 hours, or on high for 3 hours. Add the zucchini and chickpeas and cook 1 hour longer on low.

Yield: Makes 6 servings