Monday, May 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Lots going on today!  Just trying to quickly get some menu planning done for the week, then head out to the garden!  I really need to get weeding out there.  I see lots of my plants starting to come up, so that is always exciting!  I am pretty unhappy to see all the grass that is growing in there again this year:(  There is nothing worse than trying to weed out a bunch of grass.  Anyone have any tips on getting rid of it?  

Monday: Guacamole Sirloin Burgers & Corn on the cob

Wednesday: Peking Pork Chops, Rice, Veggie

Thursday: Crockpot Fish Chowder (I am a little skeptical on this one, but I decided to be brave and try something outside of my box;)  

Friday: Taco Night

Saturday: Grilled Delmonico Steaks & Sides (not sure what yet)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chicken Crescent Rolls (AKA Chicken Baseballs)

I am sure many of you have seen or made a recipe similar to this one.  I used to make this differently, with celery, ranch dressing mix, etc. but I like this version better because I feel like it is a bit more healthful.  It is something my kids like so I usually make it a couple of times a year (that is a lot for me, LOL;).  It is also quick, easy, and filling.  This is a great place to use leftover turkey or chicken up.  If not, my favorite method of cooking the chicken for this recipe is to submerge it in water, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 20 minutes until cooked through.

Also, you will note below the recipe I have included the nutritional information for the recipe.  This is something I am going to try to do with at least some of my recipes.  Hey, who doesn't have to calorie count from time to time?  Well, not my husband, dang him.

Chicken Crescent Rolls

1 lb. chicken breasts, cooked 
8 oz. can refrigerated Crescent Rolls, reduced fat
4 oz. Co-Jack cheese, shredded
3 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. onion, diced
2 Tbsp. 1% milk
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
paprika or cayenne pepper (depending if you want to add some spice or not)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the cream cheese, onion, milk, seasoned salt, and mix well.  Add the chicken and shredded cheese and mix until chicken is well coated.  Add pepper to taste.  

Unroll the crescent rolls and divide to make 4 squares.  Fill each square with the chicken mixture.  Bring all 4 corners of the dough to the center over the mixture and pinch until dough is mostly sealed.  Keep in mind, they don't need to be perfect, the dough will puff up some when they bake. 

Sprinkle bundles with paprika or cayenne. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 4
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 444.1
  • Total Fat: 22.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 101.6 mg
  • Sodium: 1,051.4 mg
  • Total Carbs: 27.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 36.7 g

Monday, May 24, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

You are probably wondering why I am doing a Menu Planning Monday when I have already planned for the entire month of May.  Well, the reason is simple, my monthly plan is really a monthly "guide".  Modifications and substitutions are inevitably made.  On paper, I am always changing, so I thought instead of scribbling it out on paper, I could blog menu planning!

Plus, today it is rainy.  That combined with it being Monday means that I am feeling extremely lazy.  Also, I stayed up too late last night watching recorded TV and I would LOVE a nap but then I know I won't be able to sleep tonight.  I know, I know, TMI.  

I decided to link to my inspiration as well as my own recipes.  It is easier for me, and then you can copy my menu if you so choose!  I will be making some modifications to some of these recipes to suit our tastes as well as to make them a bit healthier in some cases.  With tank top/shorts season here, it is obvious I need to do some healthier cooking!

Monday: Chicken Crescent Rolls & Carrot Sticks
Tuesday: Meatloaf (from freezer), Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Wednesday: Shredded Pork Sandwiches (from freezer) & Coleslaw
Saturday: Guacamole Sirloin Burger & Homemade Hamburger Buns

Friday, May 21, 2010

Warm German Potato Salad

This recipe for Warm German Potato Salad makes a fantastic year round side-dish.  We had it this week with grilled brats and sauerkraut (homemade and canned my my MIL YUM!) but it would also be just as fantastic with a pork roast in the dead of winter.  

This is not the type of German Potato Salad that I grew up with, my grandma made a version that is also delicious, but it is quite different.  I do think I prefer this salad warm, but my grandma's cold.  

Warm German Potato Salad

3 lbs. small (2 inch diameter) red boiling potatoes, peeled if desired
10 bacon slices (1/2 lb.), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
3/4 c. beef stock or store-bought broth
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
Garnish with additional parsley (optional)

Combine potatoes with cold salted water (1 Tbsp. salt per every 4 Qts. water) to cover by 1 inch in a 6 Qt. pot, bring to a simmer, and simmer until just tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.  Set skillet aside.

Drain potatoes.  When just cool enough to handle, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  Transfer to a large bowl, add bacon, and cover to keep warm.

Pour off all but 3 Tbsp. fat from skillet.  Add onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add sugar, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, and stock, bring to a simmer, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.

Add onion mixture to potatoes, along with parsley, remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar, salt, and pepper, and toss gently.

Serve potato salad warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with additional parsley, if desired.

Source: The Gourmet Cookbook

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

For our Sunday dinner this past weekend, I made a wonderful new soup that is supposed to be very similar to one served at the Olive Garden.  My husband and I have never had it there, but I do know that my home version was fantastic!  Aside from the heavy cream, this is a fairly healthful recipe.  I am thinking that you could also make it with half and half or milk if you want to trim the calories.  I think I might give it a try that way.  I highly recommend that you grab some crusty bread.  I was fresh out and we all wished we had some to dunk in this creamy soup.

If you are in Bismarck, please note that neither Walmart nor Dan's carries Potato Gnocchi.  I did find them finally in the freezer section of Central Market.

Doesn't this soup look delicious?  Especially on my new china!

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
6 c. chicken stock
3 c. heavy cream
3 garlic cloves
1 lg. carrot, shredded
1 small onion, diced
1 bag baby spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 lb. bag frozen Potato Gnocchi

Saute the onion, garlic, and carrot in oil over medium heat until onion is translucent.  Add chicken, chicken stock, heavy cream, salt and pepper, and thyme.  Heat to boiling, then add gnocchi.  Gently boil for 4 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

Add spinach and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until spinach is wilted.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parker House Rolls

Last week, I finally found a roll recipe that even I can handle.  I don't have the best track record with roll making.  If I don't use the bread machine, yeast breads just do not like me.  As a matter of fact, I made some truly horrible rolls for Thanksgiving this past year.  They were hard, flat, and burnt on the bottom.  It was supposed to be one of those "fool proof recipes" but I'm thinking it wasn't fool proof enough for this fool;-P

Well, this was WAS.  Oh my gosh, they were so perfectly delicious.  See this entire pan?  They were all gone by bedtime.  They were adored by all.  

Parker House Rolls

3 Tbsp. warm water
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 c whole milk
2 c. bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4-1 1/2c. all-purpose flour

Stir together warm water, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and yeast in a small bowl until yeast is disolved.  Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Melt 6 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan.  Add milk and heat until lukewarm.  Pour into a large bowl, add yeast mixture, remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar, bread flour, and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Stir in 3/4 cup all-poupose flour, then, if necessary, add up to 1/2 c. more flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time, to make a slightly sticky dough that forms a ball. 

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more all-pourpose flour if dough is very sticky, until smooth and elastic but still slightly sticky, about 10 minutes.  (I used the bread hook in my kitchen-aid stand mixer to knead the dough for me.) Form dough into a ball, put in a buttered large bowl, and turn to coat with butter.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. 

Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.  Divide dough into 20 equal pieces.  Roll each one into a ball and arrange evenly in 4 rows of 5 in baking pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until almost doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. 

Using a floured chopstick or edge of a ruler, make a deep crease down center of each row of rolls.  Let rolls rise, loosely covered, for 15 minutes.

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter; cool slightly.  Brush tops of rolls with butter and bake until golden, 20-25 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool, right side up, until warm.

Cook's Note:

*These rolls can be baked up to one day ahead.  Cool completely, then wrap well in foil and keep at room temperature.  Reheat in the foil in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Variations-Cloverleaf Rolls:

The cloverleaf shape is easy to form and gives these rolls a showy little fillip. 

After the dough has doubled in bulk, butter eighteen 1/3 to 1/2 c. muffin cups.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into thirds.  Work with one portion at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap.  Cut off Tbsp. sized pieces of dough, form into balls, and put 3 balls in each buttered muffin cup.

Let rise, loosely covered, in a warm draft-free place until almost doubled in bulk, 30-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Brush the rolls lightly with egg wash (1 large egg lightly beaten with 2 tsp. water) and sprinkle with poppy and/or lightly toasted sesame seeds.  Bake until golden, 15-20 minutes.  Cool as directed above.

Source: The Gourmet Cookbook

These rolls were created in the 1870s at the Parker House Hotel in Boston.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Penne alla Vodka

A few years back, my husband bought me The Gourmet Cookbook.  He bought it for me during the height of my cookbook addiction, so I never really spent proper time getting to know this one in depth.  I recently pulled it back out and decided it was high time that I did just that.  After all, this baby has some fantastic classic dishes in it.  If this one is any indication, I am going to have a LOT of fun eating my way through this book!

I actually made this Penne alla Vodka for myself for dinner on Mother's Day (Hey, don't feel too sorry for me!  My family made me a fantastic breakfast and helped clean-up!  Besides I love to cook!) along with a healthy and delicious Bruschetta recipe from a Cooking Light annual that my kids absolutely adored.  Both were fantastic and deserve to be shared with all of you (and made again repeatedly).  

Penne alla Vodka
Serves 6

1/2 stick (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2/3 c. vodka
3/4 c. canned tomato puree
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 lb. cooked ham, finely chopped
2 drops Tabasco, or to taste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. penne (14.5 oz. box of Ronzoni Smart Taste used in Nutritional Info.)
3/4 c. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Melt butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in vodka, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 4 minutes.  Add tomato puree and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in ham, Tabasco, salt, and pepper.  Keep sauce warm over very low heat.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8- Qt. pot of boiling salted water (1 Tbsp. salt per every 4 Qts. water) until al dente.  Reserve 1/2 c. cooking water and drain pasta. 

Add pasta to sauce and toss with sauce and cheese, adding some of reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry.

If desired, garnish with some additional Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 6
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 602.7
  • Total Fat: 30.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 101.2 mg
  • Sodium: 607.6 mg
  • Total Carbs: 58.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 8.3 g
  • Protein: 17.2 g

Friday, May 14, 2010

Shrimp Etouffee

Here is a delicious and healthy shrimp recipe that I came across from the Cooking Light Annual I have been browsing.  It had a little bit of spice to it and both my husband and I really enjoyed it.  My oldest son really seemed to like it too.  My younger two kidlets just picked at it though.  I think it was a bit too spicy for them (my youngest especially is a total wimp when it comes to any heat;P)

Shrimp Etouffee

4 c. chicken broth (fat free, less sodium)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/3 c. butter, divided
1/2 c. all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 oz.)
cooking spray
1 1/2 c. onion, chopped
2/3 c. celery, diced
1/2 c. red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. salt-free Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. chopped green onions
1/2 c. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, divided
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 c. hot, cooked long grain rice

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer.  Cover and remove from heat.  

Melt 1/4 c. butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup; level with a knife.  Add flour to pan; cook 8 minutes or until very brown, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Remove from heat.  Add 1 c. broth mixture to pan.  Stir with a whisk until smooth.  Add remaining 3 c. broth mixture; stirring with a whisk until smooth; set aside.

Melt remaining 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. butter in a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, and bell peppers to the pan; cook 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and onion is golden brown; stirring occasionally.  Stir in 3/4 c. water, scrapping pan to loosen browned bits.  Add tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper to onion mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add reserved broth-flour mixture and Worcestershire sauce to pan, stirring well to combine; bring to a simmer.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add green onions, 1/4 parsley, and shrimp, cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done.  Discard bay leaf.  Serve over rice.  Sprinkle each serving with 2 tsp. remaining parsley, if desired. 

Makes 6 servings (1 1/4 c. entouffee and 2/3 c. rice)

Source: Cooking Light   

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tortellini Salad

I just can't wait any longer.  I must post the recipe for one of my new favorite summertime pasta salads that my entire family loved.  It is even healthy!  I know, I know, you are very welcome.  This is another one from my Cooking Light Five Star Recipes cookbook that cannot be found ANYWHERE on the web.  I am kind of feeling like I have some very important secrets to share with you from this awesome cookbook.    

This salad is also just gorgeous, don't you think?

Tortellini Salad

9 oz. package fresh cheese tortellini, uncooked (I usually buy the frozen variety which also do work just fine)
2 c. (2-in) julienne-sliced zucchini
1 c. cherry tomato halves
1/2 c. chopped sweet red pepper
1/3 c. sliced green onions
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 c. fat-free red wine vinaigrette (I couldn't find anything but regular at my crappy Walmart, so that is what I had to use)
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh dillweed (I used about 1 tsp. of dried)
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook tortellini in boiling water 6 minutes, omitting salt and fat; drain.  Rinse under cold running water, and drain well.  Combine tortellini, zucchini, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine vinaigrette, dillweed, and 1/4 tsp. pepper; stir well.  Pour over tortellini mixture; toss gently.

Makes 6- 1 c. servings

Blueberry-Yogurt Muffins

I have been making these blueberry muffins for years.  I got the recipe out of a Cooking Light Five Star Recipes book that I picked up at the grocery store checkout, oh, maybe in 2002;)  It was originally published in the September 1992 issue of Cooking Light.  I absolutely love to use myrecipes (which includes most of Cooking Lights recipes) as a source for healthy and delicious food, but this delicious one isn't on there!  I actually looked this one up on the internet and couldn't find it anywhere!  I certainly don't know why!  It is one of my most-made muffins.  They are something I can really feel good about feeding my kids before sending them off to school in the morning.  They also love to take them for school snacks.

Sorry about the horrible picture quality.  I snapped this one at night, right after I made them, so the lighting was terrible.  Also, this time I made mini-muffins instead of the larger ones that the recipe indicates.  I often do this, they are just more manageable for the kids that way.  If you decide to go with the mini-muffins, be sure to cut the baking time down.

Blueberry-Yogurt Muffins

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. unsweetened orange juice
2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil (I use Canola)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. carton vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
Cooking spray
1 Tbsp. sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.  Combine egg and next 4 ingredients; add to dry ingredients.  Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter evenly into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar evenly over batter.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until golden.  Remove from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Thought I'd get a post up quickly while I eat my breakfast this morning, then it is time to go play with the girls!  My niece spent the night last night and gets to hang out with Grace and I for the day.  Right now, they are making a giant tent to play house in:-)  We have plans of making some blue playdough and maybe heading to the library later!  Fun!

I just love this granola recipe.  It was given to me by my good friend, Jen, (who is a great cook) and I have already made it several times.  I like to eat it as cereal (it is very filling though, it doesn't take much!), plain, or a favorite of both my kids and I is to mix yogurt and berries together and top it with this granola (think McD's fruit and yogurt parfait).


4 c. regular oats
1/2 c. shredded coconut 
3/4 c. wheat germ
3/4 c. chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts)
1/3  c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. dry milk
2/3 c. honey
1/4 c. Canola oil
Raisins, Craisins, or other dried fruit (optional- I leave them out to keep the hubby and kids happy)

Spray or lightly grease a jelly roll pan and preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Combine honey and oil in small saucepan, heat to dissolve honey (I just heated it over medium-low while I mixed the dry ingredients).  Pour over the granola mixture, stir well.  

Spread in the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5.  It won't crisp up until it cools, so don't be tempted to over-bake it.  

Remove from oven, stir it periodically while it cools to separate the grains.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  You can also freeze this.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello.  It is a new day, I think, but I am still at it, shampooing my carpets.  I finished my entire upstairs yesterday (spending nearly 3 hours getting paint out of my daughters carpet before finally giving up) and today I am working on my downstairs.  Oh, then I will go BACK upstairs to shampoo where my dog got sick last night on my freshly shampooed carpets.  Some days, I feel like I am fighting a losing battle.  Oh well, there are worse problems in the world than a house that your family/dog will not let you really get clean.  I am thankful I have 3 healthy children that have the energy and curiosity necessary to turn my home upside down most days.  Now say that 10 times.  

Here are some fabulous chocolate chip cookies that my kids (and husband...and me) absolutely adore.  Yes, they are "just" plain chocolate chip cookies, but they really are anything but plain.  

Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened (DO NOT MELT!!!)
1/2 c. shortening (You can also just use more butter instead.  The cookies won't go flat (like mine are) if you chill the dough 1 hour before baking.)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 package milk chocolate chips (2 cups)

Mix butter, shortening, and sugars--do not overmix (the key to this recipe is minimal mixing - try it with a wooden spoon instead of a mixer).  Add vanilla and eggs.  Sift together the dry ingredients and add them next.  Mix until everything is combined.  Add chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Remove them from the oven when they are barely brown.  Serve warm out of the oven with a tall glass of cold milk:-)  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sweet Restaurant Slaw

Because I am utterly sick of carpet shampooing and want an excuse for a break while I drink my diet coke, I am going to post a second recipe today.  Why am I carpet shampooing, you ask?  Well, that would be because my daughter got her hands on some tempera paints and COVERED her bedroom carpet in it.  I have a home shampooer, but after about 1/2 hour of shampooing I ran and rented a more powerful one.  2 1/2 hours later, I can say that it looks much better, but I still have a long way to go on getting it out.  I am thinking I won't be totally getting it out, not with her white carpet:(  In the grand scheme of things, it IS just carpet.  I guess we will just live with our imperfect, spotted carpet (this isn't the first mishap) and replace it when the kids are a bit older and less...accident prone/destructive.

I love a good coleslaw, especially in the summer.  I haven't found one the rest of my family really enjoys.  That is until this one.  Everyone loved it and even wanted seconds.  I didn't even get any leftovers the next day!

Sweet Restaurant Slaw

16 oz. bag coleslaw mix
1/4 thinly sliced red onion
2/3 c. Light Miracle Whip
3 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1/2 c. white sugar
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. poppy seeds

Combine the coleslaw mix and onion in a large bowl.

Whisk together the Miracle Whip, oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl; blend throughly.  

Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw and toss to coat.  Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Rhubarb Streusel Bars

I am feeling a little bit down today, I should really bake myself some of these bars for comfort.  I received this recipe (along with a few other fantastic rhubarb recipes) and some fresh rhubarb from my neighbors garden my first summer in my house.  Now, several years later, we have our own rhubarb plants but this is still a favorite recipe of everyone.  Try this, even if you think you don't like rhubarb, it is to die for!

Rhubarb Streusel Bars

Bottom Crust:
1 c. flour
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. butter

Mix (I like to throw it in my food processor to easily get the butter evenly distributed throughout) and press into 9 x 9 greased baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  

1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. flour
3 c. rhubarb, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all together and pour over hot crust.

3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix (again, I use my food processor), and sprinkle topping over filling.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Self-Filled Cupcakes with Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Some days, you just have to love ND.  We woke up today, May 7th, to snow.  So far, it isn't melting either.  I wouldn't mind so much, but my oldest is headed for a field trip today out of town.  His class is going to be touring Fort Mandan.  I hope they are still able to enjoy themselves and learn a lot while they are trudging through the snow.  

A day like today is a perfect time to hole up in your kitchen and bake some delicious treats.  How about these cupcakes?  They were absolutely delicious.  I got the cupcake recipe out of my husband's grandma's church cookbook that she gave me.  She is the sweetest woman.  She knows how I love to cook and she is always giving me little kitchen related things.  She most recently gave me her china.  It is beautiful!  I have always wanted china, but I didn't have any.  Her pieces were in perfect condition too, some were still unopened in the box!  The funny thing is, if I would have been able to select my own china, there is a good chance that I would have picked exactly what she gave me.  It is simple, and elegant.  I also just adore that it is from her and it comes with a history.  I will always think of her when I use it.  

Self-Filled Cupcakes

18 1/2 oz. box chocolate cake mix
8 oz. package cream cheese (I used reduced-fat)
1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
pinch of salt
6 oz. chocolate chips (mini would work the best although I made them with regular)

Prepare cake mix, using milk instead of water, per package directions.  Place cupcake papers in cupcake tins.

Divide batter evenly between 24 cupcake papers.  

Cream sugar and softened cream cheese; beat in egg and salt.  Stir in chips.

Equally distribute the cream cheese mixture between all 24 cupcake tins, dropping it on each one, near the center.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Cool and frost.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

3 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
8 Tbsp cocoa powder
8 Tbsp butter
7 Tbsp. heavy cream (if you are in a pinch, milk would work OK too)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium sized bowl, combine the confectioners sugar and cocoa power.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture and cream.  Blend in vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  In necessary, adjust consistency with more cream or sugar.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cheese Buttons (AKA: Kase Knepfla)

One of my warmest childhood memories is having Cheese Buttons at my grandmothers house.  They were, hands down, my favorite food growing up and I still think of them as the ultimate in comfort food today.  When I first married my husband, he wasn't impressed by them...I am pretty sure they are growing on him too.  That could have something to do with that I have become much better at making them.  These may seem odd to all of you non-Germans out there, but give them a try!  I always serve these with canned peaches, because that is what grandma always did:0)

Cheese Buttons (Kase Knepfla)

2 1/2 c. flour
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. water

2 c. dry curd cottage cheese 
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste

Finishing Ingredients:
Butter, 1/4-1/2 c.
Stale bread pieces (I use at least 5-6 pieces), torn
1 medium onion, sliced

Serve With:
Heavy Cream
Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients together.  It will be a very stiff dough.  I find that it is very easy to use my Kitchen Aid bread hook to mix this.

Combine filling ingredients together.

Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 inch squares.  Place a spoon-full of filling on half on each square.  Fold dough over and pinch sides together securely to make the button (my grandma always made triangles instead, so that is what I usually do).

Put buttons into a kettle of slowly boiling salted water and cook for no more than 10 minutes (they are done when they float).  Boil and handle gently, or you may lose filling.

Fry Cheese Buttons in a large skillet with the other finished ingredients until lightly browned.

Drizzle with heavy cream and salt to taste.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Menu Plan

German Apple Pancakes
Homemade Granola
Buttermilk Pancakes
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Blueberry Muffins

Strawberry Shortcake
Cheesecake Thumbprints
Fudgy Brownies
Yellow Butter-Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Sugar Cookie Bars
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
Chocolate Mint Bars
Rhubarb-Strawberry Crisp

May 1st: Laredo Supper & Frito's
May 2nd Sirloin Steaks with Mushroom Sauce & Chive Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Corn
May 3rd: Italian Chicken Wraps with Homemade Flour Tortillas & Classic Macaroni Salad
May 4th: Hoisin-Glazed Beef Kebabs, Rice Stick Noodles, & Salad
May 5th: Tacos (Cinco de Mayo!)
May 6th: Shrimp Etouffee
May 7th: Island Pork Tenderloin, Parker House Rolls, Veggie
May 8th: Sliders with Shallot Dijon Relish on Parker House Rolls
May 9th: Penne a la Vodka, Tomato & Basil Topped Garlic Brushetta
May 10th: Spicy Peanut Chicken Over Rice
May 11th: Spaghetti & Garlic Bread, Side Salad
May 12th: Warm German Potato Salad, Brats with Buns, Sauerkraut
May 13th: Maple Grilled Salmon, New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
May 14th: Homemade Pizza
May 15th: Chicken & Gnocchi Soup, Salad
May 16th: Steak au Poivre, Gratin Dauphinos
May 17th: Classic Cobb Salad
May 18th: Meatloaf (from freezer) & Sides
May 19th: Spicy Pork with Bean Thread Noodles
May 20th: Emeril's BBQ Shrimp with Mini Biscuits
May 21st: Walking Tacos
May 22nd: BWW Night
May 23rd: Spinach & Cheese Cannelloni
May 24th: Chicken Crescent Rolls, Side Salad
May 25th: Pepper Beef
May 26th: Shredded Pork (from freezer), Buns, Coleslaw
May 27th: Open-Faced Crab Salad Sandwiches
May 28th: Homemade Pizza
May 29th: Guacamole Sirloin Burger, Homemade Hamburger Buns
May 30th: BLT Quesadilla Wrap
May 31st: Oriental Fried Rice


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