MAKING LIFE TASTE BETTER

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cowboy cookies




Ingredients
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread coconut and nuts on a large baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes until toasted, stirring every few minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt and gradually add to creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in toasted nuts, coconut, oats and chocolate chips.
  6. Drop tablespoon size balls onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until brown. Cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fish Roll



Ingredients

2 thin salmon fillets
3 flounder fillets
8 sea scallops
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, for seasoning
Canola oil, for brushing

  
 
 
Compound Butter:

4 ounces butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 teaspoon dry parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions

On your counter top lay out a sheet of parchment paper and top it with a layer of plastic wrap.

Lay out your fillets of salmon, tails away from you. Overlap the fillets of flounder about 1-inch over the tails of the salmon. Then place the scallops on a metal skewer and set at the end of the flounder furthest from you. Sprinkle the herbs over the fish and season with salt and pepper.

Using the plastic wrap pull the fish towards you so that the plastic begins to pull the flounder over the scallops. Be sure not to roll the plastic into the fish roll. Use a sheet pan to push the roll tightly as you pull the plastic toward you. The roll should be tight and you should be able to remove the sheet of plastic. Then roll the fish in the parchment away from you so it is covered and can be place into the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For Compound Butter: In a large bowl using a wooden spoon mix all ingredients. Place the mixture on a piece of parchment and fold the parchment over itself. Pull to form a roll and twist the ends. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to set up. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds and remove the parchment.

Preheat your broiler and place the oven rack 6-inches from the heating element.

Remove the metal skewer and slice the roulade into 3/4 to 1-inch rounds. Place onto a broiler pan and brush each round with canola oil. Put under the broiler for 3 to 6 minutes depending on how well done you like your fish.

Serve with 1 slice of compound butter on each fish roll.

 
 



Caramallows


This is an easy way to make Caramels. I do not have a microwave so I use a stove top method.....






One batch 6-minute Caramel 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
30-40 mini marshmallows
10 oz. high quality dark chocolate, chopped, melted
A Coarse flake sea salt for garnish
Prepare a 9x9 or 10x10 pan by lining with parchment paper in each direction so that parchment overhangs all four sides and can be used to lift out the finished caramel.  Use nonstick spray or butter to grease the parchment.
Step 1:  Place butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on low power just long enough to soften the butter.  Remove from microwave and stir in the sugars, corn syrup and condensed milk.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Stir.  Microwave for another 2 minutes.  Stir.  Microwave for a final 2 minutes.  Stir and pour immediately into the prepared pan.  Gently tilt pan to move caramel into each corner, then tap pan firmly on a flat surface to help level the hot candy.  Set aside to cool for 1 hour.  Use overhanging parchment to lift the cooled candy out of the pan and continue to cool for an additional hour.
Step 3:  Using a sharp, greased knife, cut caramel into 1.5"x 1.5" squares. 
Step 4:  Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.  Create caramallows  by placing a mini marshmallow in the center of a square of caramel.

 Bring top and bottom corners together.
Fold right and left sides toward the center.

Roll between palms to form a smooth ball.


Press gently between palms to form a patty, then place on the lined baking sheet. You'll notice that the patties will go from uniformly flat, to more of an oyster shape as the marshmallow resumes its fluffy form. 
Refrigerate the caramallows for 30 minutes.
(This will make them easier to handle and dip.)
Step 5:   Drop a caramallow in the melted chocolate.  Using a dipping fork, or a plastic fork with the center tines snapped off, flip the candy over to make sure both sides are coated.  Remove with the fork and gently tap off excess chocolate.  Gently scrape bottom along the side of bowl.   Only half of the candy should be on the fork.  This will make it easier to transfer from the fork to the parchment.  Sprinkle with just a touch of salt.  
Step 6:  Refrigerate caramels 10-15 minutes, until chocolate has set.  Store at room temperature.  At room temp, the caramel is soft, luscious, and melts in your mouth!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mixed Berry Pavlova








Ingredients

4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
  
Directions

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won't get a pencil mark on the meringue.)

Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly. Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don't overbeat!

Yield: 1 cup

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pita Chips








  • 4 6-inch whole-wheat pitas
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Position oven racks in middle and lower third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Coat 2 large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cut pitas into 8 wedges each and separate each wedge at the fold. Place the pita wedges, rough-side up, in an even layer on the prepared baking sheets. Brush with oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt.
  3. Bake the pita wedges, switching the baking sheets halfway through, until golden and crispy, 6 to 10 minutes (depending on the thickness).

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Cauliflower Cheese Pie


A lighter healthy take on Quiche and it's GLUTEN FREE

Cauliflower Cheese Pie
(serves, um, 2)
for the crust
2 c. grated raw potato (from 2-3 peeled potatoes)
½ t. salt
1 egg white, beaten
¼ c. grated onion
for the filling
1 T. olive oil
1 c. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t. salt
freshly ground black pepper
¼ t. dried thyme
½ t. dried basil
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 c. (4-5 oz.) grated cheddar cheese (any cheese you enjoy works well...we use Jalapeno, usually)
2 eggs
¼ c. milk
1) Preheat the oven to 400°F and generously oil a 9″ pie dish.  Seriously, be generous.  This is the difference between ending up with the crispy potato crust attached to your pie and the crispy potato crust attached to your pie dish.
2) Keeping each separate, grate the cheese, then the potatoes, then the onion using a food processor or box grater.
3) To make the crust, place the grated potatoes in a colander and toss them with the salt.  Wait ten minutes, then squeeze out the excess water.  A salad spinner works well for this, or you can wring the potatoes out in a dishtowel.  Stir together the potatoes, egg white and onion in a large bowl, then pat the mixture evenly into your pie dish , building them up the sides to form the crust.
4) Bake for 30 minutes, then brush the crust lightly with olive oil and bake for 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and lower the temp to 375°F.
5) While the crust bakes, heat 1 T. olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper (to taste) and herbs and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.  Add the cauliflower and stir well to coat.  Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender, 8-10 minutes.  Add a tablespoon of water if the cauliflower begins to stick to the pan.
6) Spread half the cheese over the crust and spoon the cauliflower mixture over, then sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.  Whisk together the eggs and the milk, then pour this mixture over the cauliflower cheese mixture.
7) Bake 35-40 minutes, until set.

Serve with a salad or (as we did) roasted fresh Brussels Sprouts

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chicken Parmesan



Chicken Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided 
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs PANKO
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided 
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten 
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil and spray pan with "Pam"
  • 1 1/2 cups bottled fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce (such as Muir Glen Organic) (Rick makes our Marinara sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded provolone cheese 
  • Cooked wheat Linguini to serve (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Place egg white in a shallow dish. Dip each chicken tender in egg white; dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Set aside.
  3. Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, pasta sauce, vinegar, and pepper in a small sauce pan and heat while you prepare dinner..cook until thoroughly heated. Pour the sauce over chicken in pan. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Parmesan and provolone cheese. Wrap handle of pan with foil, and broil 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Saturday, April 6, 2013







Homemade Cream Cheese Mints
Calories per mint: about 10
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure mint extract
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
(Optional) Food coloring
(Optional) Rainbow-colored sugar crystals
Directions:

Line baking sheets with waxed paper.  I use jelly roll-size pans.

In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer beat together softened cream cheese and mint extract.
*Note: While creaming the cream cheese is the ideal time to add food coloring to dye the dough.
Add powdered sugar gradually and beat until smooth, kneading in the last of the powdered sugar with hands or a heavy spoon.
Lightly dust the wax paper-lined baking sheets with sifted powdered sugar.
Using a 1/2-teaspoon measuring spoon, form mixture into balls the size of a cherry.
NOTE:  I do not roll the mints in sugar crystals.  Although that colorful sugar makes the mints sparkle, for our family, biting into the mint and having the crunch of the sugar crystals is undesirable.  However, if you like that sugary crunch, at this point roll the dough ball in a bowl of granulated or sugar crystals. I sprinkled mine with superfine sugar.





You may also fill mini muffin cups with melted chocolate. Add a flattened mint (small and centered so chocolate surrounds it.). Add chocolate to cover. let set at least 1 hour or more. May refrigerate. Makes a great gift!

Friday, April 5, 2013








makes 6 yogurt cups
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups Vanilla yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 1 (3 oz) package of Lemon Jello mix
  • *optional, whipped cream to top
How to Make
  1. Line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium microwave safe mixing bowl, combine yogurt and Jello mix, stirring to combine.
  3. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring after each minute.
  4. Fill each cupcake liner with about 1/4 cup of yogurt mixture.
  5. Chill cups for at least an hour until set.
* I used a double boiler method because I don't have a microwave....
Notes
You can easily mix and match different flavors or yogurt and Jello. Also, try making them in mini cupcake liners as well for a more bite-sized treat!
Store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Jello