April 2007

Happy Spring! The newsletters are finally resuming. Thanks for all of your emails asking what happened to it. It should be back on a regular basis now. I hope you have a wonderful Easter. Enjoy the recipes!

Quick Links to our Easter Recipes

Easter Recipes, Easter Candy Recipes, Easter Brunch Recipes, Easter Bread Recipes, Easter Salad Recipes, Easter Side Dish Recipes, Easter Dinner Recipes, Easter Ham Recipes, Easter Dessert Recipes

     Mary Ellen        

 

APPETIZERS

COCONUT CHICKEN BITES

1 pound chicken breast, cut 2" or 3" pieces
1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tablespoon garlic powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter

Heat oven to 400ºF.

Mix flour, coconut, salt, pepper and garlic powder together. Dip chicken bites in the egg then in the flour mixture. Place the chicken bites onto a greased cookie sheet or baking pan. Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake approx. 25 minutes or until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Turn once during cooking.

This is good served with an apricot or plum dipping sauce.

CARROT CHEESECAKE BALL

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup dry coconut flakes (optional)
1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1/2 of an 8 oz. package light cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger 
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

Drain a small can of crushed pineapple, and soak up excess juice with paper towel. Set aside.

Mix your dry ingredients and toss in the carrots and raisins. Mix the pineapple, coconut, vanilla, and cream cheeses. Add dry ingredients, form into a ball and roll in graham cracker crumbs.

Serve with graham cracker, carrot sticks, or whatever you think would go with this.

BASIL CHEESE TORTA

1/2 pound softened cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 pound provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 red bell pepper, toasted, peeled, seeded - cut 3x3/8" strips
1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes
fresh basil for garnish

Mix cream cheese and butter with a fork; add pesto and mix well. Line a small (3-cup) loaf pan or bowl with plastic wrap, leaving several inches of overhang on each side. Make a thin layer of provolone slices on the bottom and partially up the sides. Spread 1/3 of the pesto mixture over the cheese; artistically arrange 2 or 3 sun-dried tomatoes, 4 to 6 bell pepper strips, and about 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts over the pesto.

Repeat layers until all ingredients are used (reserving some of the pine nuts to sprinkle on top), pressing down well between layers. Chill overnight or for several days. Serve at room temperature on a platter wreathed with fresh basil sprigs. Additional toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes cut into flowers, red bell pepper strips, and fresh basil sprigs may be used as garnish. Note: Torta may be presented inverted or not. Keeps several days refrigerated. Although best served at room temperature, it slices best chilled.

BREADS AND MUFFINS

LEMON BREAD

3/4 cup margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon + 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups prepared lemon pudding
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease two loaf pans.

In a large bowl, cream the margarine and sugar together thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Sift the dry ingredients together and add them to the eggs.

Add the lemon pudding and milk, and mix until very well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.

Bake at 350ºF for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Yields 2 loaves.

PINA COLADA BREAD

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup pineapple juice (drained from crushed pineapple)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
20 oz. can crushed pineapple (drained well)
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
1/2 cup chopped macadamia or other nuts (opt.)

Beat eggs slightly. Stir in oil and sugar. Add extracts, pineapple juice, and orange zest.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt, soda, and cinnamon. Add to egg mixture and mix just until ingredients are moistened.

Gently stir in crushed pineapple, coconut, maraschino cherries, and nuts. Do not stir too much or bread will be very heavy.

Pour batter into medium size loaf pans, that have been greased and floured well.

Bake at 350° F. degrees for 45- 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove.

Makes 2 Loaves

ORANGE PECAN CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS

1 3 ounce pack cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup orange juice
1 3/4 cups buttermilk baking mix
1/4 cup chopped pecans
6 tablespoons orange marmalade

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar. Add egg and juice. Beat well. Stir in biscuit mix only until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in pecans.

Grease six jumbo muffin tins. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each cup. Spoon 1 teaspoon marmalade into center of each muffin. Divide remaining batter over marmalade.

Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

STRAWBERRY MUFFINS AND STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE SPREAD

1 cup Strawberries, chopped
3/4 cup + 1 T. sugar
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs
1/4 cup Oil
1/2 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Grated orange peel

12 Strawberries, cut fan-shape

Spread:
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/4 cup crushed strawberries (or chopped)

Sprinkle the chopped strawberries with 1 T. sugar and set aside. Sift together flour, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Beat eggs until light in a small bowl. Add oil, milk, and orange peel, and blend well. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir until mixed, 10-15 strokes. Drain chopped berries and fold into batter.

Fill paper-lined cups 2/3 full. Bake 400° F, 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve warm or cooled with Strawberry-Cream Cheese Spread. Garnish each muffin with a fan-shaped berry.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread: Mix until well blended.

SALADS

SWEET POTATO SALAD

2 cups medium diced sweet potatoes
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup finely diced red onion
1/3 cup finely diced celery
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Cook potatoes until they are fork tender in boiling water. Drain the potatoes and cool them completely.

Soak the raisins in hot water for 15 minutes and then drain. Combine all the ingredients and mix them thoroughly, but gently.

Chill for 24 hours before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

FLUFFY LEMONADE GELATIN

5 packages (3 oz each) lemon gelatin powder
6 cups boiling water
12 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate
12 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in lemonade until dissolved. Chill until partially set. Fold in whipped topping.

Pour into a 13x9 inch dish. chill until firm.

Yield: 20-24 servings.

ORANGE PECAN TAPIOCA SALAD

1 package vanilla cook and serve pudding mix
3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
2 cups skim milk
1 package sugar free orange jello
3/4 cup cool whip Lite
1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
3 tablespoons chopped pecans

In large saucepan, combine dry pudding, tapioca, milk and gelatin. Mix well using wire whisk, then let set 5 minutes. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mix thickens and starts to boil. Pour into large bowl and place bowl on wire rack. Cool 30 minutes.

Add cool whip, orange and pecans; mix gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

Serves 6.

SEVEN LAYER SLAW

2 cups coleslaw mix
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups broccoli slaw
1 medium yellow or red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 cup coleslaw dressing
Additional broccoli slaw, if desired

In bottom of 2 1/2-quart clear glass bowl, evenly spread 1 cup of the coleslaw mix.

Layer with 1 cup of the carrots, 1 cup of the broccoli slaw and the bell pepper.

Layer with remaining coleslaw mix, carrots and broccoli slaw. Pour dressing over coleslaw. Sprinkle with additional broccoli slaw.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours. Toss before serving.

Makes 6 servings

LONG ISLAND DELI POTATO SALAD

2 lb. potatoes boiled in their skin and cooled

Brine:
1 cup white vinegar
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 Tbsp. tarragon-flavored vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. celery seed

Salad:
4 cups cold, boiled potatoes, peeled, diced
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1 small jar chopped pimentos
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Combine brine ingredients and boil for 5 minutes.

Slice potatoes thin and pour hot brine over them. Let them marinate for 24 hours.

Drain in colander but do not drain dry.

Add mayonnaise, enough to make it as creamy as you like. It is better to make it the day before, or even 2 days before.

Dressing: Mix well and refrigerate while making the rest of the salad.

Salad: Mix potatoes, onions in bowl. Drain pimentos well and then put on a paper towel so that the salad doesn't turn pink. Add eggs.

Mix dressing gently with all the above stuff and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

GRILLED ZUCCHINI SALAD

4 to 6 medium zucchini
1-1⁄2 teaspoons sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

Prepare a hot fire.

Slice zucchini crosswise on the diagonal into long slices about1⁄2 inch thick. Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. Grill zucchini, turning once, until browned and tender (about 6-7 minutes).

Return zucchini to bowl and let cool to room temperature. Gently toss with vinegar and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with chopped marjoram. Serve at room temperature.

SIDE DISHES

BOURSIN POTATO GRATIN

2 C whipping cream
1 5-ounce package Boursin cheese w/ herbs
3 pounds red potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 9x13-inch baking dish with 2-inch-high sides.

Stir whipping cream and Boursin cheese in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until cheese melts and mixture is smooth.

Arrange half of sliced potatoes in baking dish. Generously season potatoes in dish with salt and pepper. Pour half of cheese mixture over. Arrange remaining potatoes atop potatoes in dish. Season again with salt and pepper. Pour remaining cheese mixture over potatoes.

Bake until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour.

Serve 8.

PECAN WILD RICE PILAF

4 cups chicken broth
1 cup wild rice, rinsed well
1 3/4 cups wheat pilaf
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup dried currants
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
grated zest of 2 oranges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon orange juice
fresh ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add wild rice to boiling broth. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 50 minutes or until rice is tender. Do not overcook. Remove to a large bowl.

While the rice is cooking, in another saucepan bring about 2 1/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in the pilaf, cover and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes, or until pilaf is tender.

Remove from heat, let rest 15 minutes, and add to the (cooked) wild rice. Add remaining ingredients and toss well. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 8.

CARROTS WITH RUM RAISINS

1/2 cup rum or 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 cup raisins
8 pearl onions, peeled and cut in half
3 tbsp stick margarine or butter
2 pounds baby carrots
1/3 cup dry white wine or apple juice
3/4 tsp finely chopped fresh or 1/4 tsp dried dill weed
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream

Pour rum over raisins. Let stand 30 minutes.

Cook onions in margarine in 3-quart saucepan over low heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften. Stir in carrots and raisins (with rum). Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated. Stir in wine, dill weed, salt and red pepper.

Cover and cook over medium heat 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender. Stir in whipping cream. Heat to boiling. Boil uncovered 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serves 8.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH CHEESE SAUCE

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper

Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a large bowl, toss together cauliflower florets, olive oil and salt and pepper. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until tender.

Near the end of roasting time, in medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, whisk in flour until blended and slightly browned. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Add salt and pepper and simmer for 3 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove pan from heat and whisk in cheese until melted and well blended.

Place cauliflower on serving platter and spoon sauce on top. Sprinkle with parsley for garnish.

Serves 4.

APRICOT ORANGE GLAZED CARROTS

8 medium carrots, sliced
½ cup dried apricots, sliced
½ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon butter
1½ teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon grated orange peel
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Place 1 inch of water in a large saucepan. Add carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.

In the same pan, combine the remaining ingredients and cook and stir until slightly thickened. Return carrots to the pan and stir until glazed and heated through.

Serves 6.

 

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MAIN DISHES

GINGER RUM GLAZED HAM

1 half of fully cooked cured ham -- shank end (7-8 lb)
1/3 cup chopped preserved ginger in syrup
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum

If the ham comes with the skin still attached, remove most of it with a sharp knife, leaving a layer of fat and a collar of skin around the shank bone. Trim the fat, leaving a layer about 1/3-inch thick, and score the layer remaining into diamonds. Bake the ham on a rack in a roasting pan in a preheated 350ºF oven for 55 minutes.

In a blender blend together the ginger, the brown sugar, and the rum, spoon the glaze over the ham, spreading it, and bake the ham for 30 to 35 minutes more, or until the glaze is brown and bubbly.

Transfer the ham to a platter, garnish the platter with the parsley, and let the ham stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Yield: 8 servings.

HAM WITH GOLDEN RAISIN GLAZE

1 ham (10 lb.)
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. rum
1/2 c. apple jelly
1/2 c. orange juice
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. mustard

Bake ham according to the oven temperature and cooking time indicated on the label. While the ham bakes, prepare the glaze.

In saucepan combine raisins, rum, apple jelly and orange juice. Cook until jelly melts.

Mix together cornstarch, brown sugar, and dry mustard and blend into the rum mixture.

Cook and stir over low heat until is thickened. Spoon glaze over top and sides of ham during the last 30 minutes in the oven. Serve warm.

Serves 10 people.

CHERRY DIJON GLAZED HAM

6 tbl Dijon Mustard such as Grey Poupon
3 1/2 lb fully cooked boneless ham
1 can pitted dark sweet cherries (16-1/2 oz.)
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
1 tbl orange juice concentrate

Brush 4 Tbsp. mustard over ham. Bake according to label directions. Drain cherries, reserving syrup. Blend cherry syrup, wine, brown sugar, remaining mustard, cornstarch and orange juice concentrate in small pan. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and begins to boil.

Add cherries to remaining sauce; keep warm. Spoon reserved sauce over ham during last 30 minutes of cooking time. RESERVE 1/3 cup of sauce to use as glaze.  Serve ham with cherry sauce.

LEG OF LAMB WITH HERBS AND OLIVE OIL

5 lb leg of lamb -- (5 to 6)
1/2 cup whole garlic cloves
1/2 cup whole peppercorns
1 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup sea or kosher salt
2 cans ripe pitted olives, in their juice

MARINADE:
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F. In a mortar with a pestle grind garlic, peppercorns, rosemary and salt with a pestle until a well blended poultice. Trim excess fat from lamb. Rub olive oil onto the leg of lamb. Scoop out the poultice from the mortar and pack it completely around the leg of lamb. Make sure the leg is "sealed" with the poultice to keep in the flavor. Place the lamb into a roasting pan and pour in 1 or 2 cans (depending on size of roasting pan) ripe pitted olives in their juice.

The lamb should be swimming in about 1-inch of juice. Put roasting pan in the oven and roast for 45 to 1 hour, depending on size and density of lamb. The lamb must not be over-cooked. Serve it pink.

DESSERTS

DEEP FRIED STRAWBERRIES

30-40 fresh and large strawberries
2 cups of flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Sugar
1 1/2 cups of beer
5 egg whites
cream of tartar
cooking oil (Peanut)
powdered sugar

Wash, dry and hull strawberries. Heat oil to 375 F.

In a bowl, combine 2 cups of flour and 1/4 tsp. of sugar and salt. Add 1 1/2 cup of beer and beat the mixture until smooth.

In another bowl beat 5 egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar stiff. Fold egg whites into beer batter gently, but thoroughly.

Dip strawberries into batter and fry a few at a time, (1-2 minutes or until golden brown). Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Roll strawberries in powdered sugar.

MILK CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY CLUSTERS

1 11-1/2-ounce package milk chocolate pieces 1/4 cup shortening
2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained well

In a heavy saucepan over low heat or in the top of a double boiler set over hot water, melt milk chocolate pieces and shortening. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat.

Gently fold in blueberries until well coated. Drop by teaspoon into 1-1/4 - 1-1/2-inch paper candy cups or onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.

Chill in refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. Candies can be kept at room temperature for about 1 hour. If chocolate becomes soft and sticky, return to refrigerator. Store in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Makes bout 36 candies.

White Blueberry Clusters: Follow directions for Milk Chocolate Blueberry Clusters, except substitute 12 ounces white baking bars with cocoa butter, cut up, for milk chocolate.

To Use Your Microwave Oven: Place the milk chocolate pieces or the cut-up white baking bars and shortening into a 1-1/2-quart microwave-safe bowl. Micro-cook, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) for 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 minutes or just until the mixture becomes smooth when stirred. Complete the candy as above.

RHUBARB CRUMBLE ICE CREAM

Ice Cream
1 lb trimmed rhubarb
15 fluid ounces whipping cream
8 ounces sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Crumble
3 ounces plain white flour
2 ounces butter
2 ounces light brown muscavado sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

First of all make the crumble by combining all the ingredients together in a bow and using your hands to rub the butter into the flours that the mixture comes together to form small, pea-sized balls of dough. Sprinkle this evenly into an 11 X 7 inch baking tin and set aside.

Cut the rhubarb into 1/2 inch lengths and place them in a large shallow baking dish along with the sugar and lemon juice. Place the dish on a lower shelf in an oven, preheated to 375*F, Place the tin containing the crumble mixture on the shelf above it. The crumble needs to be baked for 10 minutes, then remove it from the oven and cool. The rhubarb may need a further 15 to 20 minutes cooking before it is completely tender: when it is cooked, take it out and puree it in a food processor or blender til smooth. Transfer to the fridge and chill.

Before making the ice cream, use your hands to break up the cooled crumble and restore it to small peas sized pieces. (If they are too big the pieces are too unwieldy to eat, if too small, they tend to disappear.) Next, stir the cream into the rhubarb puree, pour it into an ice-cream maker and churn until the mixture has the consistency of softly whipped cream. Quickly spoon into a plastic freezer box and stir in the crumble pieces. Put on the lid, and then freeze for a minimum of 2 hours, or until the ice cream is firm enough to serve.

To make without an ice-cream maker, freeze the mixture, without the crumble, in the box for 3 to 4 hours,then whisk and return to the freezer. Refreeze for a further 2 hours, then whisk again, and stir in the crumble before the final freezing.

BUNNY CARROT COOKIES

1 cup sugar
1 cup Soft Baking Butter with Canola Oil
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Miniature marshmallows, if desired

Frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup Soft Baking Butter with Canola Oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, 1 cup Soft Baking Butter with Canola Oil and egg in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining cookie ingredients except marshmallows. Beat until well mixed.

To shape bunnies, roll dough into 30 (1-inch) balls, 30 (3/4-inch) balls and 60 (1x1/4-inch) logs. For each cookie, place 1 (1-inch) ball onto ungreased cookie sheet; top with 1 (3/4-inch) ball and 2 logs for ears. (Make sure dough pieces are touching so that bunny is formed during baking.) Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center.

Remove from oven; place 1 marshmallow on half of bunny cookies to resemble tails, if desired. Continue baking for 1 to 2 minutes or until marshmallow is slightly melted. Cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar, 1/4 cup Soft Baking Butter with Canola Oil and vanilla in small bowl. Beat at low speed, gradually adding milk, until desired spreading consistency. Place frosting in pastry bag fitted with decorator tip. Decorate cookies as desired.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

STRAWBERRY CREAM DESSERT

2-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 36 squares)
6 tablespoons sugar
10 tablespoons butter, melted
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 cartons (one 16 ounces, one 8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup (8 ounces) strawberry yogurt

Topping
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

In a bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. dish. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners? sugar until smooth. Whisk in 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over the prepared crust.

In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Whisk in yogurt and 6 cups of whipped topping until blended. Pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Spread remaining whipped topping over strawberry layer. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over the whipped topping. Makes 12-15 servings.

ORANGE CHOCOLATE PUFFS

1 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon honey

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease cookie sheet; lightly flour. Heat 1 cup water, the butter and salt to a rapid boil in 2 1/2-quart saucepan. Stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat. Cool 5 minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at a time with wire whisk, until smooth. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart into 16 mounds onto cookie sheet.

Bake about 30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown; cool. Cut off tops; reserve. Pull out any strands of soft dough.

Beat whipping cream, powdered sugar, cocoa and orange peel in chilled medium bowl on high speed until stiff. Fill puffs with whipped cream mixture; replace tops. Mound puffs on large serving plate.

Heat remaining ingredients over low heat until smooth; drizzle over puffs. Refrigerate any remaining puffs.

EASTER CANDIES

SUGARED MARSHMALLOW BUNNIES AND CHICKS

1/4 cup water
3 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup invert sugar*
3/8 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
colored sugar

* you can buy invert sugar at cake supply stores or sometimes at large supermarkets.

In a mixing bowl soak gelatin in 1/4 cup water. In a saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, sugar and invert sugar. Heat but do not boil; pour hot syrup into gelatin, beating slowly. Gradually add corn syrup and vanilla, beating on medium-high speed of an electric mixer until mixture is fluffy, white and doubled in bulk.

* Color and flavor marshmallow as desired.

Keep mixing bowl in a larger bowl of very hot water to keep marshmallow from hardening. Butter Easter molds and spoon candy into the molds. You can also pour this mixture onto a well oiled cookie sheet and cut out with cookie cutters.

Set aside for about 1 hour then remove from molds and roll in colored sugar. Dry candy for a few hours then pack in tightly covered containers.

Makes 12-15 molds.

FRUIT AND NUT EASTER EGGS

2-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 lb. marshmallow creme
1/2 cup shortening, melted
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups candied fruit (cherries and pineapple)
Nuts
Dipping chocolate

In a saucepan, cook sugar, syrup, and water to 265 degrees. Add marshmallow creme and beat until almost firm. Add melted shortening, confectioners' sugar, candied fruit, and nuts. Mix well, shape eggs by hand and dip in the chocolate.

Makes 10 eggs.

COCONUT MARSHMALLOW NESTS

1/2 teaspoon water
3 to 4 drops green or other food color
1-1/4 cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes
2/3 cup miniature marshmallows
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon butter
Candy-Coated Milk Chocolate Eggs

Combine water and food color in small bowl or small jar with cover or re-sealable plastic bag. Add coconut; toss with fork or shake closed jar or plastic bag until coconut is evenly coated.

Microwave marshmallows and butter in medium microwave-safe bowl 30 seconds at high; stir. If necessary, microwave an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until mixture is melted and smooth when stirred. Stir in tinted coconut.

Line tray or cookie sheet with wax paper. Drop coconut mixture in 12 equal mounds onto prepared tray. Shape coconut mounds with moistened fingers into small nest shapes. Cool completely. Allow to air dry until slightly hardened. Fill with milk chocolate eggs.

Makes 12 candies.

JELLY BEAN BARK

1 tablespoon butter (no substitutes), melted
1-1/4 pounds white candy coating
2 cups miniature jelly beans

Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. pan with foil. Brush with butter; set aside. Place the candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave, uncovered, at 70% power for 3-4 minutes; stir until smooth. Spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle with jelly beans. Let stand until set before breaking into pieces.

Makes 2 pounds.

STRAWBERRY TRUFFLES

8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
5 oz. white chocolate
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
18 medium fresh strawberries
1/4 cup finely minced crystallized ginger
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts

Melt white chocolate in the top of a double boiler, let cool.

Beat together the cream cheese, sugar and ginger root until smooth. Add melted white chocolate and mix well. Chill for at least 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Use a small melon baller (or small spoon) to scoop out the center of each strawberry, half way down each fruit. Pat strawberry dry.

Put a little crystallized ginger into each strawberry. Shape the cheese mixture around the fruit.

Coat one end in the toasted coconut, the other in the pistachio nuts. Place truffles in candy cups and chill until serving time.

Yield: 18 Pieces

LEFTOVER BOILED EGGS

DIJON DILL EGG SALAD WRAPS

4 hard-cooked eggs whites chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped red or green bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise divided use
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard (or less to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
weed
alfalfa sprouts
Leaf lettuce

Mix eggs, bell pepper, onions, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, mustard and dill.

Spread 1 teaspoon mayonnaise down center of each lettuce leaf.

Top with about 1/4 cup egg mixture, top with alfalfa sprouts. Fold like a burrito and eat.

RESTAURANT RECIPES

RAO'S LASAGNA

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fine-quality olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage meat, removed from casings and chopped
1/2 cup red wine
3 (28 ounce) cans imported San Marzano Italian tomatoes, with juice, hand-crushed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
5 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds ricotta cheese
2 egg yolks
1 pound lasagna noodles
2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the beef and sauté for 5 minutes or until well browned. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the sausage to the saucepan and sauté until browned. Return beef to saucepan.

Add the wine to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes or until it has evaporated.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Add salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours or until thick and rich in flavor. If needed, add more water, a quarter cup at a time. If sauce is fatty, either skim off the fat or put a few layers of paper towel on the top to absorb the excess fat. (If you have the time, refrigerate the sauce until the fat congeals on top; then simply lift it off.)

Put ricotta into a cheesecloth lined colander and allow it to drain in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Combine with egg yolks; blend well. This will keep the lasagna from being watery.

Add the noodles and remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a large, deep pot filled with rapidly boiling salted water. Cook noodles until al dente. Drain well in a colander and then run under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Put noodles, in a single layer, on clean, damp kitchen towels. Cover with clean, damp towels.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ladle a thin layer of meat sauce info a lasagna pan (12 x I8 x 2 inches or 14 x I0 x 3 inches), Cover with noodles, laid lengthwise, then cover noodles with a layer of meat sauce, Spread a thin, smooth layer of ricotta over the meat sauce. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella and Pecorino Romano. Continue layers of pasta, sauce, and cheese, alternating the pasta )n opposite directions for each layer (lengthwise, then crosswise, etc.). Finish with a layer of meat sauce covered with sliced mozzarella and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano.

Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until cheese topping has melted and lasagna is bubbling.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

MARGARITAVILLE'S ISLAND LIME SHRIMP

1/4 cup Triple Sec
1/4 cup Tequila
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. medium shrimp, deveined (tails on)
bamboo skewers, soaked

Mix first 8 ingredients in a shallow dish. Marinade shrimp for one hour.

Place on skewers and grill until pink and cooked through.

DOLLYWOOD DIPPED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Cup butter, softened
3/4 Cup sugar
3/4 Cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Dip

1 (6 oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 (6 oz.) bag white chocolate morsels
Vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, and vanilla extract; mix until creamy.

Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in 12 ounces semi-sweet chips. Drop by level teaspoonfuls onto un-greased baking sheet.

Bake 9-11 minutes. Cookies should still be soft when removed from oven. Place on cooling racks. In separate small saucepan, melt bags of semi-sweet and white chocolate morsels. Add a small amount of vegetable oil to each saucepan. Dip each cookie halfway in dark chocolate and return to rack to cool. After cooled, dip the other half in the white chocolate. Allow to cool.

 

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