Thursday, April 30, 2015

Frozen Butterfinger Pie

It is 80 degrees today.  Time for some fun COLD treats, don't you think?  I do! 

I am guilty of hitting up the after Easter sales on candy.  I mean, I bought A LOT of it.  I have used most of it but this bag of Butterfingers keeps getting pushed to the side.  I like them but I don't need them and they get stuck in my dang teeth.  Drives me nuts!  I decided to make them into something delicious for these warm spring/summer days ahead!

I love no bake desserts.  For some reason, now that I think about it, my favorite desserts are NO bake.  Except for cream puffs, but they are in an entirely different realm of fabulousness so they don't count.

These ingredients are pretty straight forward but, if you want to use a premade chocolate cookie crust feel free.  I didn't want that much chocolate so I used some store brand, half vanilla, have chocolate sandwich cookies.  They worked out fabulously.  This is a very rich pie, I would guess you could easily serve 12 with it.  Also, I used Cool Whip, please feel free to use fresh sweetened whipped cream.  That is just a personal preference, and while I normally choose that, it was more in the realm of what I wanted to use cool whip. 

On that note, let's get to this EASY recipe.  Make sure to make it the day before so it is frozen nice and firm!

30 sandwich cookies
6 T. melted butter

Place cookies in a food processor and process until fine crumbs.  Add in butter and process until you get the consistency of wet sand.  Pour out into a pie pan and press firmly.  You could do this in a 9x9 square baking dish as well.  Set aside

In a stand mixer bowl or mixing bowl combine the following except candy bars....

3.4 oz. box of vanilla pudding mix (instant)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
8 ounces cool whip
8 ozs cream cheese
12 fun size butterfingers chopped (reserve 2 for topping)
remaining cool whip for the top

When all ingredients are a smooth mixture, fold in candy bars.  Pour into crust smooth over and top with cool whip.  Sprinkle leftover candy bars on top and freeze at least overnight!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Triple Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake

Mmm-hmmmm.  I know.  To good to be true?  I would agree if I hadn't eaten 2 slices myself.  But, as per usual, there is a story here.  This didn't turn out to be what I planned for it to be. 

So, I confessed on my Facebook page that I love those little chocolate bundt cakes from Kentucky Fried Chicken.  So sue me.  It has been my personal mission to recreate those little rings of love from the beginning.  I have tried a few things but, this time....THIS time, was going to be, THE time.  Well I am not to proud to admit it wasn't THE time, but this time, it came out so delish, I had to share it anyway.  I have figured a few things out about those little rings of love.  They are frozen, that alone keeps them super moist, so if you want to make this cake ahead, and freeze it for a few days or a week before you ice and serve it, you might get a closer result.  I was not going to give you a cake that you had to freeze for a week, but if you DID do that, uh-huh, might be your ticket to greatness. 

When I originally made this with just a regular from scratch chocolate cake recipe, it didn't do so well.  A bit like falling apart brownies, no bueno.  So I knew this time I wanted to use a pound cake base.  Well, it turned out lovely, and seriously, if the "triple" doesn't reel you in on the chocolate factor, maybe the sour cream will. 

Here we go!  You want ALL of your ingredients at room temperature, even the sour cream.  Do this by leaving everything on the counter for at least 30 minutes prior to baking!  There are a few ingredients near the end, I will make all ingredients RED!

You will need

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup sour cream
3 cups all purpose flour
3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1, 3.9 oz. box of instant chocolate pudding
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F, and spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. 

In the bowl of your mixer, or any large bowl if mixing with an electric mixer, add in your butter  Beat until creamy and smooth, and it has lightened a bit in color.  Add in sugar and continue to beat until sugar and butter are light and fluffy.  Add in your eggs, one at a time, beat it in before adding the next.  Next you will add in your vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.

In another bowl combine, your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and instant chocolate pudding mix together.  Just give it a quick mix to combine it. 

Now alternately add in some of the flour mixture to your butter and egg mixture, and then add some sour cream.  Alternate until all ingredients are combined and your batter is smooth and creamy. 

Fold in chocolate chips and pour into your bundt pan.  This will fill it nearly to the top.  No worries, it won't rise a ton, and even at that, it won't overflow.  It might make you nervous, but no worries, I got your back on this.  Trust me.


Now bake for 90 minutes.  Yes, I said it, 90 minutes.  Start checking at the 70 minute point, and when a toothpick comes out clean it is done.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Next you will need

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup regular milk of your choice

Mix these together and set aside.  Poke holes in your cake, while still in the pan.  Make them go all the way through just don't go quite all the way through.  Make these wholes all over.  I used a chopstick.  Now SLOWLY pour the milk mixture over the cake.  Go slow or don't call me to clean up the sticky mess!  When you are done, let sit until completely cooled and the milk is completely absorbed.  Run a knife around the inside hole and the outside, and flip out on to a plate.  If I were going to freeze it, this would be the point where I would wrap it tightly in saran wrap, and then foil and place in the freezer, otherwise, move on!

THEN you will need:

1 cup powdered/confectioners/icing sugar
1 1/2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients.  Make sure it is a loose enough mixture to drip down the sides of the cake and go for it.  Drizzle it, spoon it, do whatever you feel is necessary to get that icing on that cake!  Garnish with some mini chocolate chips if you like!

Enjoy this rich chocolate goodness!  I have to admit, I still put some whipped cream on top because, well, everything is just better with it. 


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ham Croquettes

We meet again!  And lo and behold, with another leftover Easter ham recipe!  This is the exact reason we bought 2 you know.  Just so my husband could make some of his favorites, which is an absolute pleasure to see him enjoy.  This recipe was one his mom made often and so we would like to share it with you!

These are crispy and lovely on the outside and the inside is just ham goodness.  As I had never heard of these before my husband, I did some looking around and found these to be made about a million different ways and seasoned in as many ways.  These are just plain, not a lot of seasoning as the ham gets to be the star of the show.  I think these might surprise you.  They look like a lot of work but they are definitely not, especially if you have some mashed potatoes needing used up or just mix up some instant ones.  I did not have any and just used 3 decent sized potatoes, and made a small batch. 

You will need a baking sheet with a cooking rack on top to put these on as they cook, or you could probably use paper towels, either way, prep somewhere to put them.  I made these bigger than what I have seen, and I got about 10 patties. 

Here is what you will need:

3 cups ground cooked ham
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 egg

For breading
2 cups flour
2 eggs + 2 T. water, beaten together
3 cups bread crumbs (flavored or plain)

3 T. butter
4 T. flour
3-4 cups milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper (optional)

Make your béchamel first.  In a medium pot, melt your butter, add flour and salt, and whisk for 2 minutes.  Slowly add in your milk.  Now you can warm your milk if you like, it will make for a quicker thickening process.  Just keep whisking at a slow boil until thickened.  Add in pepper and whisk to combine.  When it is nice and thick, set aside. 

For the croquettes, in a large bowl add in ground ham, mashed potatoes, pepper and egg.  Mix until completely combined. 

I used my cookie scoop to portion out my croquettes.  Flatten them out into patties until all of the mixture is used up.  You can refrigerate them at this time if you like for a few minutes but it isn't necessary.  They are fragile and completely workable but might be easier to refrigerate for a few minutes first.  Now get your bread station together.  One plate with flour, one with breadcrumbs and a lard shallow bowl with egg.  Heat up a large nonstick skillet with about 3 T. of vegetable, canola or peanut oil. 

Dip the patties in flour, GENTLY shake them off, into the egg and then into breadcrumbs and in the pan.  Let fry on medium until golden brown and then flip.

Drain on the cookie sheet you prepared earlier.  Fry until all are done, and serve with the béchamel on the top! You might need to reheat a bit. 


Friday, April 17, 2015

Easy Homemade Caramels

Life lessons.  We all experience them, we all learn from them hopefully, and sometimes they sting.  Or wait, sometimes rather, they give you 2nd degree burns, on your feet!

OK, so maybe 2nd degree burns is a little over the top but, my heart will not get over how freaked out I was!  When people tell you to read up on candy making or watch a video, talk to others who make candy.....yeah, you should probably do that.  I only tell you that because, I DIDN'T!

For a beginner this is really an easy recipe.  I think when you make candy you need to start out easy.  And make sure you have access to a candy thermometer or you will end up using a meat thermometer.  HA!  Or you can ALMOST forgot what is bubbling and stick your finger in it to taste it.  I am a mess friends, a hot, bubbling over mess.  When my temperature got to that very anticipated "firm-ball stage", I kept the pot on the burner, shut off the heat, and added my vanilla.  DUH.  It blew up, a small explosion but none the less, is scared the hell outta me. I will make these again because they are so easy, but my candy making days are over.  If you need a recipe for candy, ask me, I will refer you to a good website!

One thing about these caramels, is you MUST prepare the pan well.  I mean, when I tell you that you MUST, you MUST.  I used foil, but in hindsight I would use parchment and then I would spray the heck out of it with nonstick cooking spray, maybe even like 4 times over.  Yes, use parchment.  I also used parchment to individually wrap them, waxed paper is a good alternative.  If you cut these into 1 inch squares you will get about 81 candies.  Uh-huh.......start cutting girlfriend/boyfriend. 

These would be a delightful edible gift and if you groove on the salted variety caramel, after you pour the mixture in your pan, sprinkle with course sea salt or pink salt!  Hereeeee..we go!

1 cup butter
2 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Line a 9x9x2 baking pan with parchment.  Then spray or butter it WELL with non stick cooking spray.  Set aside. 

In a large pot add all ingredients EXCEPT the vanilla. Clip a candy thermometer to your pot and stirring almost constantly bring your mixture to the firm-ball stage.  This will be 242 degrees F.  This took me about 19 minutes on medium heat.  Don't use more than medium or you will burn your mixture.  Your mixture will be a moderate, steady bubble. 

Remove the pot from the heat.  remove your thermometer, and add vanilla.  BEWARE, you will have a mini volcanic eruption on your hands, so thus, using a large pot!  Maybe if you use a large pot you won't have an eruption but I had one, so I am just putting it out there into the universe, wear socks!

Pour immediately into your prepared baking dish and let cook in the fridge.  When it is set, use the parchment to lift the caramels out and a buttered knife to cut into 1 inch squares or whatever size you like.  I did bigger pieces as you can see.

DE-lightful.  I promise!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Simple Ham Salad

Ok, we need to talk.  Remember when I said, I often make things I don't personally care for, because I just like to make all kinds of things?  This is one.  This was my husbands reason for 2 hams at Easter, I should have known he had a plan.  Ham this, ham that, ham fried, ham ground, ham anything, ham everything!  It's ok, he loves it.  And maybe you will too!  I mean after all, it does take ground ham lovers to make the world go 'round, right?

That being said, I actually enjoy the flavor here.  I just don't care for the consistency.  I used my meat grinder attachment on my mixer, but you could certainly use a food processor and just get it to the consistency that you like.  Maybe you like it a bit more chunky or maybe even (omg I am gonna say this) more mushy. 

How many people write a blog on a recipe they don't care for?  You just remember that, if you ever think for a second I am not honest!  My husband just ate the last of this last night, (thank you Lord) and yet, there were more recipes he wanted to try with this ham.  You will be getting that one later, and I actually liked it!

Anyway, this is just simple, and easy and a good use up for leftover ham if you are into that "make everything leftover into a salad" sort of thing.  God bless her, my mom fits into this category as well.  Any leftover meat became a sandwich spread.  I feel so ill right now.  She did it with goose once. 

If you haven't lost your lunch at this point, from this positive, happy, exciting blog post, we will get on with the VERY SIMPLE recipe that is my husbands favorite ham salad!  Eat it on crackers, as a sandwich, the world is your sandwich friends, make it how you like it!

3 cups ham, ground, chopped fine, etc
1/2 cup mayo (no miracle whip)
2 T. sweet pickle relish

Combine all ingredients.  If you prefer more relish add more, if you prefer less add less.  Maybe start with 1 T. and go from there.  Serve on toasted bread as a sandwich or with crackers as a dip.  You choose!!!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Rainbow Rose Meringue Cookies

Hello friends!  Just me again, making some more wildly delicious and fun stuff!  Ok, well in my opinion it is ALL that!!  Just more like finding excuses to make meringues.  Any excuse will do, I love them!

These are so easy.  Have you heard all those old wives tales about when to make meringues and when not too?  Never on a humid or rainy day?  It might be true, I am just saying, I made mine on a humid rainy day and they turned out perfectly.  I am not saying the old wives are wrong, I am just saying, they were wrong about my superhuman abilities, that's all. 

These will brighten up anyone's day, so make them, and share them with someone who needs some cheer!  Or let's be real, keep them for yourself because you know since they are mostly air, they have no calories.  I mean that is what I heard, so I am just sayin......R

PS.  Don't throw those yolks away kids, use them, for some pastry cream or homemade egg noodles!

3 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
red, blue and yellow food colors
pastry bag
Wilton 1M tip

In a very CLEAN metal or glass bowl, being to whip your egg whites.  Wipe them until they become foamy.  No peaks yet, just good and foamy.  Add in your granulated sugar and cream of tartar and whip until you have soft peaks.  Add in vanilla and continue to whip your egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. 

In 3 bowls, divide your meringue evenly.  Color on red, one blue and one yellow.  Or, use any colors you like!  Carefully fold in the coloring so you don't lose all the fluffy air in the whites.

Now using a 1m tip and a large pastry bag or Ziploc bag, cut off the corner and insert tip.  Roll the bag clear down and add one spoonful of each color at a time, then move up the cuff and add more.  This will give you more rainbow, and less of one color blob at a time.  Get it?  Yes, I said color "blob". 

Now with your baking sheets lined with either parchment or silicone mates, pipe out a rose shape.  Working in circles from the center out.  I yielded about 16 cookies, but it depends on the size of roses you make and you can do other shapes as well. 

Bake at 195 degrees F for 1 hr. 30 minutes.  Rotate the pans half way through.  When the time is up, turn the oven off and crack the door open.  Let cool to room temperature. 



Adapted from CherryLanesCupcakes

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cheesesteak Roll Ups

Hey friends!  Hope this finds you all happy, and hungry!  I am so happy spring is here, it just sheds a whole new light on life, doesn't it?

I have been craving cheesesteaks from home.  Yes Midwesterners they are cheesesteaks,  not Phillies.  The Phillies are my favorite baseball team but, cheese steaks are what you eat my friends!  LOL  I had to get that in there.

I decided to work my cheesesteak a different way.  These are so easy, they can be made ahead and they so "fancy Nancy".  Your friends and family will think you about killed yourself making them.  I wanted to find a use for minute/cube steaks other than chicken fried steak, which is literally all I use them for.  I served these with crusty seasoned bread and some Parmesan pasta and it was a hit! 

If you want to half the recipe please just half everything, I was cooking for company so I used 8 steaks.

You will need:
8 minute steaks
olive oil
2 small onions sliced thin
4 bell peppers sliced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
8 sliced of provolone cheese
8 slices of white American (which is actually an American and Swiss blend)
You can use double of one if you don't want both.

In a separate dish mix together:
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray, set aside.  In a large skillet add in your drizzle of olive oil.  Now toss in your onions and peppers. 

Let sauté for 3-5 minutes, then add in the Italian seasoning. garlic and salt.  Cook another 2 minutes and remove from heat.  Let cool 10 minutes. 

In the meantime, take your cubed steaks and using a meat mallet, pound them a bit thinner.  Yes, I am serious, just a wee bit.  Now take each steak, add the cheese to the middle, and some of your onion and pepper mixture and roll it up.  You don't need to toothpick it or anything, just repeat with all steaks.  Now sprinkle with your little seasoning blend of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper!

If you end up with leftover filling, put it in a bowl and save it for the top.  Use the same skillet to brown your roll ups for about 2 minutes on each side until browned.  Remove and place into your baking dish.

Place any leftover filling on top and bake for 25-30 minutes!!

I hope you give them a try!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Hashbrown Casserole

Hello friends.  You might not believe it, but it is Easter.  The kids have gone home, dishes are done, dessert is calling me...again, and I am blogging.  Not because I have to, but because, I wanted to share a dish with you I made and tell you about my Easter.

Two of our three grandchildren were here, and the Easter bunny hooked them up.  What fun to do Easter with the littles again!  All dressed in their Easter best, and just the delight of the get together after church!  This is by far my favorite Christian holiday, it means so much to me.  It just made it perfect to have our children and almost all of our grandchildren with us.  I hope that if you celebrate Easter, you enjoyed the day with those you love, family, friends, whoever!  We couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather, more laughter or more food!!

Speaking of which, the reason we are here.  This is just a basic hash brown casserole that my mom has made for years, now my sister makes, and this year I made.  I know I have had lots of versions of it, but this is mine and it is delicious.  You can choose to add 1/4 cup minced onions, we don't groove on onions in this dish so, I use onion powder.  IF you do add the onion, sauté it first in butter for approx. 2-4 minutes first.  I just wanted you to know, the choice is yours.   For the record my sister ALWAYS uses onions.  She always has to be different!

You will need
1lb bag of frozen hash browns (shredded or cubed)
1/2 cup butter, melted
16 oz. sour cream
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Your hash browns can be thawed or not, it makes no difference.  In a huge bowl literally mix everything together.  It is that simple.  Spray your 9x13 pan with non stick cooking spray OR butter it and then pour the completely combined mixture into your pan.  Bake for 60-90 minutes. 


Friday, April 3, 2015

Food Truck Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Evening!  I hope you are experiencing the same FABULOUS temps we are!  Spring has sprung, and I couldn't be happier.  Spring is my favorite season, so I am a happy girl!

These sandwiches.  Oh these sandwiches.  Some of my all time favorites.  At a previous place of employment in Jersey, every day around 11 the same food truck would come park outside, (we had a different name for it) and they would have these ham and cheese sandwiches.  They had a tiny bit of a mustard-ish sauce and they were wrapped in foil and I KNOW they had been in that oven for hours, maybe days, God only know but they were SO SO SO SO GOOD!

This is my version of them at home.  Now, I don't know whether this is a real recipe persay, or just a method.  I mean you can change the cheese, the meat, the sauce, but this is MY baked ham and cheese so I am giving you the ingredients I use.  As I always say, the world is your sandwich, make it how you like it!

I am pleased to announce I have found white American cheese in Nebraska.  Oddly, it isn't all American at all, it is an American/Swiss hybrid and it tastes just like WaWa white American cheese used to taste! ACK, I am in heaven.  I literally have a gigantor size square log of it pre sliced, ready for my enjoyment at any moment of the day!

I made 4 sandwiches, but obviously adjust to how many you need.  Such a great quick weeknight or weekend meal and I don't see any problem putting these on your grill either!  Make them all at once, perfect!

For the sauce you will need:
1/4 cup mustard (yellow or Dijon)
1=2 tsp. mayo

Just combine ingredients together in a small bow and set aside.

4 hoagie buns
8 thin slices of ham (if you use shaved that is fine, just get as much as you will want for 4 sammies)
8 slices of white American cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Slice rolls in half length wise.  Slather sauce on one side of the bun. Then  bend a slice cheese in half and use them length wise to cover the bun. 

Add two pieces of ham folded in half. 

Add another slice of halved cheese and put the tops on!  Roll each sandwich in a piece of foil and place on a cookie sheet, and put into your preheated oven for 25-40 minutes.  You can check them at 25 but you want them crispy, crusty and ooey, gooey melty cheese. 

Enjoy these yummy delights!!!