recipes, food and cooking

October 2007

Hi Everyone,

It has been a busy month here, I have started a couple of new websites and we will have another new recipe site sometime this month. Two are recipe related and the other is all about stamping and scrapbooking. I recently became a Stampin Up! demonstrator and have been having so much fun. My stamping and scrapbooking site is going to have all kind of ideas for packaging foods, recipe scrapbooking and more. Here's the URL: http://www.stampingcrazy.com If you would like to order some Stampin Up! products from our current catalog this month I am giving free shipping to anyone who orders more that $35.00 in October. Be sure to mention this newsletter when you email me about your order.

I also started a new blog a while back that I haven't been spending enough time on but the recipes there are all tried and true. Maybe if I know it is public now I will update it weekly. At least that is my goal. The URL for that site is: http://www.recipesfoodandcooking.com It seems I only take pictures when I make a dessert or at least it seems that way.

Stay tuned and I will send you the URL of the new site sometime this month. I can't wait to share it with you!

Happy Fall!

     Mary Ellen        

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RECIPES FOR OCTOBER - FLAVORS OF FALL

MACADAMIA NUT CHICKEN

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 cups bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups finely chopped macadamia nuts
3 cups flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet.

Cut chicken into thin 2-inch-long pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, nuts, salt, and pepper.

Have the flour in another bowl, the eggs in a third bowl.

Dredge the chicken pieces with flour, then dip them into egg, and finally into the nut mixture. Place the chicken on the baking sheet. Bake the pieces for 20 minutes or until they are golden.

Serves 4

SWEET POTATO CRANBERRY APPLE SAUTE 

3/4 cup apple juice
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

In a skillet heat apple juice. Add sweet potatoes; cover and cook over low heat about 12 minutes or until potatoes are nearly tender. Stir in apple, cranberries, maple syrup and salt. Cook, covered, over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until apple is just tender. Uncover; boil gently for 3 to 4 minutes or until liquid is syrupy. Place in serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

BEEF GOULASH WITH CARROTS AND POTATOES

2 pounds beef stew meat, preferably chuck, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons canola oil, more if needed
4 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) marjoram
3 cups water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
5 medium carrots, sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour and toss to lightly coat.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches, using more oil as necessary. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot and cook the onions over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the paprika and stir to coat the onions.

Return the beef to the pot and stir to combine well. Stir in the tomatoes and marjoram. Pour in the water and tomato paste and stir to dissolve the paste. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate, cover, and simmer the stew gently for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.

Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer gently for about 30 minutes (add a little more water to the pot if needed) or until the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6 - 8

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE

12 ounces large elbow macaroni, farfalle (bowtie pasta) or shells
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or 3 tablespoons butter plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups hot, but not boiling, milk (low-fat is fine)
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 ounces mild white cheese, such as Jack, gouda or kasseri, shredded
3 ounces sharp blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup dry bread crumbs, either homemade or unseasoned store-bought
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, or pecorino cheese

Cook the pasta in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until not quite tender -- just shy of al dente. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy, nonstick saucepan and sprinkle with the flour. Cook for a minute or two, then stir with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and add the milk all at once, along with the bay leaf. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes. If there are any lumps, remove the bay leaf and whisk with a wire whisk or whirl in a food processor. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper, paprika and dry mustard.

Reserve 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cheddar and mild white cheese. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce if you haven't already, then stir in remaining cheddar, mild white cheese and blue cheese and set aside.

In a small frying pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil and combine it with bread crumbs. Set aside.

In the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with 4-inch sides, sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of the reserved cheese. Add the onion and garlic to the cheese sauce.

Layer a third of the macaroni in the bottom of the pan, top with a third of the cheese sauce and repeat layers two more times, ending with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheeses, then with the parmesan cheese and finally with the bread crumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is crispy and browned in spots.

Macaroni and broccoli and cheese: For a yummy variation, add a layer or two of blanched broccoli florets as you assemble the casserole. End with a layer of broccoli before you top with cheese and crumbs. Bake as directed.

Serves 4.

PORK CHOPS WITH APPLE CIDER

6 boneless pork loin chops (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 teaspoon each chopped fresh oregano and thyme
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Set the oven at 400 degrees.

In a skillet with a heatproof handle, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. Brown the chops on both sides. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until an instant thermometer reads 145 degrees.

Remove the chops from the pan, cover with foil, and keep warm. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic, scraping the bottom of the pan, for 8 minutes or until softened.

Add the apple cider, oregano, and thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil. Let the sauce simmer steadily until the liquid reduces by half. Stir in the vinegar, taste the sauce for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Return the chops to the pan to reheat slightly.

BAKED CARAMEL CINNAMON BRIE 

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) round Brie cheese
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1 baguette French bread, thinly sliced

Combine the butter, brown sugar and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter melts and the sugars dissolve, stirring frequently. Add the heavy cream gradually, stirring constantly. Stir in the nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Place the Brie in a round baking pan. Drizzle the brown sugar mixture over the top of the Brie. Bake at 225 degrees in a preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the Brie is heated through. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with the almonds. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh strawberries and or Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apple slices.

Serve with the sliced bread.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

APPLE CIDER MUFFINS

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup raisins
1 cup apple cider
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the raisins, toss until evenly coated. In another bowl combine the apple cider, butter and lightly beaten egg. Pour the cider mixture over the flour mixture. Stir until blended (your batter will be lumpy).

Spoon the batter into greased muffin cups.

In a small bowl combine the sugar with the cinnamon, sprinkle on top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Yields: 6 to 12 muffins.

CINNAMON APPLE BRUNCH BAKE

3 T butter or margarine
1/2 c brown sugar
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
2 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 can (12-oz) refrigerated biscuits
1/2 c chopped nuts

In saucepan, melt butter, stir in brown sugar, apple pie filling, cinnamon and vanilla. Spread half of apple mixture in a shallow 2-qt baking dish (11 x 7).

Separate biscuits and cut each into quarters. Arrange pieces, points up, over apple mixture. Spoon remaining apple mixture over biscuits. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

8 servings.

SWEET POTATOES ROLLED IN RAW SUGAR

8 small or medium dark-flesh sweet potatoes (yams), about 6 to 8 ounces each
1/4 cup fresh orange juice

To finish:
Cooking spray
1 cup raw or unrefined sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, cut into bits

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and arrange sweet potatoes on it. Prick each one a couple of times with a sharp knife. Bake until just barely tender, about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, depending on size of potatoes. Remove from oven, let cool and peel.

With a pastry brush, coat each sweet potato with orange juice. Place on a baking sheet, freeze until firm, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap, wrapping one or two potatoes together. Place wrapped potatoes in heavy zipper plastic bag or plastic freezer container. Freeze up to 1 month.

When ready to serve, thaw wrapped potatoes in refrigerator overnight. Or unwrap and thaw at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with cooking spray a baking dish or pan large enough to hold potatoes in a single layer. Combine raw sugar, cinnamon and mace in a large shallow dish. Roll each potato in the sugar mixture to coat evenly. Arrange potatoes in baking dish.

Pour 1 cup orange juice into bottom of dish. Scatter butter bits evenly over top of potatoes. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and baste potatoes with the pan juices. Serve warm.

Serves 8

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HALLOWEEN RECIPES

INDIAN CORN ON A STICK

3/4 cup margarine
60 large marshmallows
3 quarts popped popcorn
1/4 cup peanuts (or other coarsely chopped nuts)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped dried fruits (cranberries, apricots, pineapple, apples, raisins, etc.)

Melt margarine and marshmallows over low heat. Pour over popped popcorn and stir in nuts, coconut, and dried fruits. When cool enough to handle, butter hands and mold popcorn mixture into ear of corn shapes approximately 6 inches long. Place on a greased cookie sheet or waxed paper to set.

Immediately while marshmallow is still sticky, place a few pieces of nuts, and dried fruits on the shape to resemble colorful kernels of corn. Insert a skewer or a wooden stick or dowel in the end of each. Let cool.

When marshmallow is set, wrap with cellophane and tie with raffia bow if desired.

Makes approximately 6-7 servings.

PUMPKIN CREME BRULEE

1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup sugar, plus additional for garnish
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Set a tea kettle of water to warm on the stove.

In a medium saucepan over a low heat, combine the milk, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks. While whisking, slowly add the milk mixture. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Set a mesh sieve over a medium bowl and strain the mixture through it.

Divide the mixture among four 8-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking pan, then add enough hot water from the kettle to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until the centers move slightly to the touch of your finger. Remove ramekins from the pan and refrigerate for at least four hours or up to a day.

When ready to serve, sprinkle sugar over the top of each ramekin, and put under the broiler until the top browns, about 1 to 3 minutes. Let cool a moment and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

CARAMEL POPCORN BALLS

10 cups popped plain popcorn
20 caramels
1 cup mini-marshmallows
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Butter

Put popcorn into a very large bowl; set aside. Measure marshmallows and water into a 2- or 4-cup glass measure or bowl. Add the caramels to the glass measure or bowl and microwave on high for about 1-1/2 minutes. Stir and microwave 1 more minute. Stir the mixture until the marshmallows are completely melted (about a minute). Add vanilla and cinnamon. Pour immediately over the popped corn and toss until well coated and cooled.

Lightly grease hands with butter or margarine. Using about 1 cup of popcorn mixture, form into a ball. Wrap the ball with plastic wrap and use a ribbon to tie. The ribbon colors can be coordinated for holidays. Repeat with the remaining caramel corn and refrigerate the popcorn balls because they stiffen when they are kept chilled, and soften when left at room temperature.

Variation - Baked Caramel Corn: Instead of making popcorn balls, spread the popcorn mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 250-degree oven for about 18 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent over-browning. Cool; break apart.

Yield: 10 popcorn balls

CONFETTI POPCORN BARS

1 package microwave popcorn
1/2 cup M&Ms or small gumdrops
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts
2 cups mini-marshmallows
3 tablespoons butter

Microwave popcorn according to package directions. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Discard unpopped kernels. In large greased bowl, combine popcorn with candy and peanuts. Microwave marshmallows and butter in a Pyrex container, on high for nearly 2 minutes, or until melted and smooth, stirring once halfway through cooking. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn mixture; toss until evenly coated. With buttered hands, press mixture into prepared pan. Chill until firm. Cut into bars.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED APPLES

1 dozen apples
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 wooden skewers or popsicle sticks

Garnishes (see note below)
Wash and dry apples. Spear through core with a thick skewer or popsicle stick and place in refrigerator to chill (this helps set chocolate quickly).

Melt chopped chocolate over a simmering pot of water (direct contact with steam is bad for chocolate, so be careful) until just melted. For best results, do not allow to heat past 110 to 115 degrees. Add vegetable oil and stir.

Dip apples to desired depth and then dip into a favorite garnish, if desired. Allow to cool on a piece of waxed or parchment paper. Placing dipped apples in the refrigerator will speed process. Store in a cool dark place until consumed.

Note: "Garnishes" are whatever you fancy, including chopped toasted nuts, coconut, crushed cookie crumbs, jimmies, dried fruit, etc. You can also melt milk and white chocolate and stripe or dip it over the semi-sweet chocolate coating.

Makes 12.

FRANKENSTEIN EYES

2 cups finely crushed chocolate cookies
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup raisins plus 42 raisins
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups white vanilla chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Assorted decorator gel icings (red green and black)

In a large bowl, combine cookie crumbs, walnuts, raisins and powdered sugar; mix well. Add cherry juice and syrup; mix well to form a stiff dough. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper. Refrigerate 1 hour to set.

In small, microwave-safe bowl, combine chips and oil. Microwave on high setting 30 to 45 seconds or until melted, stirring once during cooking. Dip balls into melted chips; set aside on waxed paper until
set. Decorate with gel icings and extra raisins to look like blood-shot eyes.

Makes 42 eyeballs.

CARAMEL APPLES

1 1-pound box dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon robust-flavored (dark) molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 wooden chopsticks or popsicle sticks
12 medium Granny Smith apples

Assorted decorations (such as chopped nuts, dried apricots and dried cranberries, toffee bits, mini M&M's and candy sprinkles)

Melted dark, milk and/or white chocolates

Whipping cream (if necessary)
Combine first 8 ingredients in heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan. Stir with wooden spatula or spoon over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves (no crystals are felt when caramel is rubbed between fingers), occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush, about 15 minutes.

Attach clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook caramel at rolling boil until thermometer registers 236 degrees, stirring constantly but slowly with clean wooden spatula and occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush, about 12 minutes. Pour caramel into metal bowl (do not scrape pan). Submerge thermometer bulb in caramel; cool, without stirring, to 200 degrees, about 20 minutes.

While caramel cools, line 2 baking sheets with foil; butter foil. Push 1 chopstick into stem end of each apple. Set up decorations and melted chocolates. Holding chopstick, dip 1 apple into 200-degree caramel, submerging all but very top of apple. Lift apple out, allowing excess caramel to drip back into bowl. Turn apple caramel side up and hold for several seconds to help set caramel around apple.

Place coated apple on prepared foil. Repeat with remaining apples and caramel, spacing apples apart (caramel will pool on foil). If caramel becomes too thick to dip into, add 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream and briefly whisk caramel in bowl over low heat to thin.

Chill apples on sheets until caramel is partially set, about 15 minutes. Lift 1 apple from foil. Press pooled caramel around apple; return to foil. Repeat with remaining apples.

Firmly press decorations into caramel; return each apple to foil. Or dip caramel-coated apples into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip off, then roll in nuts or candy. Or drizzle melted chocolate over caramel-coated apples and sprinkle with decorations. Chill until decorations are set, about 1 hour. Cover; chill up to 1 week.

Makes 12.

CREEPY CRAWLER GELATIN

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 package (8-serving size) or 2 packages (4-serving size) orange flavor gelatin dessert
1 1/2 cups cold water
Gummy worms

Stir boiling water into gelatin in large bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water.

Pour into 9-inch pie plate that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Refrigerate about 1 1/2 hours or until thickened (when a spoon drawn through leaves a definite impression). Push gummy worms into gelatin. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

Unmold by dipping pie plate in warm water about 15 seconds. Gently pull gelatin from around edge with moist fingers. Place moistened serving plate on top of pie plate. Invert pie plate and serving plate; holding plates together, shake slightly to loosen. Gently remove pie plate and center gelatin on serving plate. Garnish with additional gummy worms, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

PUMPKIN UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 pound yellow cake mix (1 standard box of cake mix)
1 cup chopped nuts
4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together sugar, eggs, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and milk. Line a 9 by 13-inch pan with wax paper and pour the mixture in. Sprinkle the dry cake mix on top, then sprinkle the nuts. Pour melted butter evenly over the cake mix and nuts. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool (very important). Flip over and remove from pan. Remove the wax paper. Top with whipped cream (which would dissolve if the cake wasn't cooled first).

HARVEST PUMPKIN TARTS

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups cooked or canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 unbaked tart shells (3")

Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour evenly into tart shells. Bake for 18 minutes or until center is just set and pastry is golden. Cool; garnish with whipped topping, if desired.

12 tarts

Visit Razzle Dazzle Recipes for Halloween Recipes of all kinds.

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CHICKEN 5 WAYS

CHICKEN ENCHILADA CASSEROLE

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded
Colby-jack cheese (divided)
1 cup sour cream
1 can (4 ounces) chopped mild green chiles, drained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 package (10 ounces) corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cilantro, chicken, soup, 1 1/2 cups cheese, sour cream, chiles, chili powder and cumin. Tear 4 tortillas into smaller pieces and place on bottom of casserole dish. Spread half of chicken mixture on top. Tear 4 more tortillas and layer with remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over top. Cut remaining 2 tortillas into thin wedges and place on top of cheese.

Bake in preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes or until warm throughout. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

CREAMY CHICKEN PASTA SOUP

3 tablespoons butter
4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
6 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup penne pasta
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, halved diagonally
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery, carrots and onion. Cook until celery and onion are tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually mix in chicken stock. Bring soup to simmer, stirring frequently. Add half-and-half and chopped parsley and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken tenders and simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes. (Chicken soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.)

Cook penne pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta. Bring chicken soup to simmer. Mix in cooked pasta and sugar snap peas and simmer 2 minutes. Mix in lemon juice; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 12 first-course or 6 main-course servings.

CHICKEN WELLINGTON CASSEROLE

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 teaspoons butter
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 slices bacon - fried crispy - crumbled
4 oz. blue cheese
1 clove garlic - crushed
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
salt
Dash pepper
1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg- mixed with 1 tablespoon water - for brushing on top

In a skillet, cook chicken in butter 3-4 minutes on each side.

Place chicken in a greased 8" baking dish. Saute the mushrooms in the same pan as the chicken for a couple of minutes. Cool slightly.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, bacon, blue cheese, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.

Spoon over chicken. Unroll dough into one long rectangle; seal seams and perforations. If necessary, trim dough to fit top of dish and patch together by overlapping edges. Pinch edges to seal. Place over filling. Brush crust with egg.

Bake, uncovered, at 350º for 20 minutes.

CHICKEN PIE WITH BISCUIT CRUST

FILLING:
4 cups chicken broth
3 carrots, 1/4" slices
3/4 pound red potatoes, 1/2" dice
2 rib celery, 1/2" slices
2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 onion, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

BISCUIT CRUST:
1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 tablespoons shortening, cut into bits
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup buttermilk

EGG WASH:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk

In a saucepan bring broth to a boil. Add carrots, potatoes, and celery, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Transfer veggies to a bowl, reserving the broth, and add the chicken to the bowl. In another saucepan, cook the onion in the butter over mod-low heat, stirring, until it is softened. Add flour and cook the roux, stirring, for 3 minutes.

Add 3 cups of broth in a stream, whisking. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking. Add the thyme and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in nutmeg, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies. Stir the mixture gently, until it is just combined. Transfer the mixture to a 2-qt. baking dish.

Into a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and shortening and blend the mixture until it resembles meal. Add the cheese and toss. Break egg into a measuring cup and add buttermilk to it so that the total volume is 1/2 cup. Beat with a fork. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until the mixture just forms dough. Gather dough into a ball and, on a floured surface, pat it out 1/2-inch thick.

Cut as many rounds as possible using a 2-inch fluted biscuit cutter, dipped in flour. Gather the scraps and pat and cut again. Arrange the rounds on the chicken mixture. Beat the egg yolk with the milk and brush the tops of the biscuits with the wash. Prick biscuits with a fork. Bake in the middle of a preheated 450ºF oven for 15-25 minutes, or until biscuits are puffed and golden, and the filling is bubbling.

Serves 4.

CHICKEN MACARONI CASSEROLE

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups light cream
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth,, divided
3/4 pound process American cheese, cubed
14 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 ounces diced pimiento, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
snipped fresh parsley, optional

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until combined. Add cream and 1 1/2 cups of the broth all at once; stir until smooth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat; add the cheese and stir until melted.

Stir in macaroni, chicken, pimientos, salt and pepper. Add additional broth if needed. Pour into a 3 quart baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 350ºF for 40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Yield: 6-8 servings.

Note: a 3 lb chicken will yield about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of cut-up cooked chicken.

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SCONES

CINNAMON CRUMBLE SCONES

SCONES
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups bread flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

GLAZE
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 egg, beaten

CINNAMON CRUMBLES
1/4 cup each: unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. For scones, place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Sift together the flours and baking powder; mix into butter-sugar mixture. Add cream; mix just until dough forms; do not overmix.

Roll dough into an 8-by-8-inch square. Cut dough into 12 equal squares; cut to form 24 triangles. Place scones on greased or parchment-lined baking sheets; set aside. For glaze, beat together the cream and eggs; brush over tops of scones with pastry brush.

For cinnamon crumbles, mix the butter, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl with a fork; sprinkle over tops of scones. Bake until golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Makes 24 scones

Nutritional information per scone: 290 calories, 46 percent calories from fat, 15 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 120 milligrams sodium, 36 grams carbohydrate, 4.2 grams protein, 0.9 grams fiber

GINGERBREAD SCONES

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup cold half and half
1/4 cup raw sugar, for sprinkling
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and spices. Cut in butter with fork or heavy-duty electric mixer until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir together molasses, pumpkin puree, egg yolk and half and half. Add to dry mixture and stir until sticky dough is formed.

Turn out the dough onto lightly floured work surface and knead gently just until dough holds together, about six times. Divide into four equal portions and pat each into 1-inch-thick round about 6 inches in diameter. With knife or straight edge, cut each round into quarters, making four wedges. Smaller scones can be formed by cutting out with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Sprinkle tops lightly with sugar and chopped nuts.

Place scones about 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until crusty and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately with orange butter or lemon curd.

Makes 16 scones

(1 scone) 271 calories, 4g protein, 12g fat ( 6g saturated), 37g carbohydrate, 207mg sodium, 41mg cholesterol, 1g dietary fiber.

ORANGE BUTTER

1/2 cup (1 stick) soft butter
2 tablespoons orange marmalade

In small bowl, mix butter and marmalade with a fork until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, until serving.

JAM-FILLED COCONUT SCONES

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup thick jam, such as raspberry or blackberry

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour, coconut, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with fork or heavy-duty electric mixer until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add eggs and half-and-half to dry mixture and stir until sticky dough is formed. Add a few drops more half-and-half if needed.

Turn out the shaggy dough onto lightly floured work surface and knead gently just until dough holds together, about 6 times. Pat into a 1-inch-thick round about 9 inches in diameter. With knife or straightedge, cut the round in half, then each half into 5 equal wedges, making 10 wedges.

Place scones about 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Near the center of the top wide section, make an indentation with your thumb and fill with a mounded teaspoonful of jam. Bake in preheated oven until crusty and golden brown, 18 to 24 minutes. Serve immediately or cool on a rack; butter is optional.

Makes 10 scones

BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE SCONES

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cold cultured buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed drained blueberries
Crumb topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, zest and salt. Cut in butter with fork or heavy-duty electric mixer until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine eggs, vanilla and buttermilk; add to dry mixture and stir until sticky dough is formed. With floured hands, gently knead in blueberries.

Turn out the shaggy dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet and pat into a 1-inch-thick round about 9 inches in diameter.

To prepare crumb topping: In small bowl, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon; work in butter with your fingers until crumbs are formed. Sprinkle over entire top of scone and press lightly to help it adhere. With knife or straightedge, divide round into 8 equal wedges but leave in single round shape. Bake in preheated oven until crusty and golden brown, 28 to 33 minutes. Use knife to separate wedges. Serve immediately or cool on rack.

Makes 8 scones

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YUMMY DESSERTS

BUTTERMILK GLAZED APPLE CAKE

CAKE:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola or corn oil
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup apple or orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored -- finely chopped
1/2 cup coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

SOAKING SYRUP:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Lightly grease and flour a 10 inch tube or bundt pan.

Place the sugar, oil, eggs, juice vanilla, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle; beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add, by hand, the apples, coconut and nuts. Mix until combined.

Place in prepared pan, transfer to the oven, and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a rack.

To make the soaking syrup, place the buttermilk, sugar, butter and baking soda in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes and prick the surface of the cake with a toothpick. Brush on the coating syrup and cool to room temperature. Invert and remove cake.

Cut into 14-16 pieces.

GINGERBREAD CUPCAKES WITH LEMON CREAM CHEESE

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbl. unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large beaten egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

FROSTING:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sliced crystallized ginger

Into a bowl sift together the flour, the ground ginger, the cinnamon, the cloves, the allspice, and the salt.

In another bowl cream 1/2 stick of the butter, add the granulated sugar, and beat the mixture until it is fluffy. Beat in the molasses and the egg, beating until the mixture is smooth.

In a measuring cup combine the baking soda with 1/2 cup boiling water and stir the mixture to dissolve the baking soda. Stir the mixture into the molasses mixture (the mixture will appear curdled) and stir the molasses mixture into the flour mixture, stirring to combine the ingredients well.

Line twelve 1/2-cup muffin tins with paper liners and spoon the batter into the liners, filling them halfway.

Bake the cupcakes in the middle of a preheated 350ºF oven for 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (The cupcakes will be flat or slightly indented on top.)

Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and let them cool.

In a bowl cream together the cream cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, add the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla, and beat the mixture until it is fluffy and smooth.

Beat in the zest and the lemon juice and chill the frosting for 30 minutes. Frost the cupcakes and top each with some ginger.

Makes 12.

CHOCOLATE PRALINE MUD SQUARES

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
1 jar caramel-flavored topping (12 ounce)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup butter or margarine
4 squares unsweetened chocolate (1 ounce)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Frosting (below)
Confectioners’ sugar
Pecan halves
Candied cherries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x9-inch baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray.
In a medium bowl, combine cracker crumbs, pecans, brown sugar, and melted butter; stir to mix well. Press onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until firm. Cool slightly.

In a small bowl, combine caramel topping and flour, stirring well to blend. Spread over the crust to within 1/4-inch from the edge of the pan. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, combine butter and chocolate; cook over low heat until melted. Stir in sugar, flour, eggs, and vanilla; pour over caramel mixture.

Bake for 50 minutes. Cool slightly; spread with Chocolate Frosting. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Decorate with pecan halves and candied cherries.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons water
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, combine butter, cocoa powder, and water; cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE BROWNIE DESSERT

1 package Betty Crocker original supreme brownie mix -- (with pouch of
chocolate syrup)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1 6 ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips -- (1 cup)
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar

Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom only of springform pan, 10x3 inches. Make brownie mix as directed on package, using water, oil and 2 eggs. Spread in pan.

Heat whipping cream anti chocolate chips in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth; cool slightly.

Beat 3 eggs and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until foamy; stir into chocolate mixture. Pour evenly over batter.

Bake about 65 minutes or until topping is set; cool completely. Run metal spatula around side of dessert to loosen; remove side of pan.

Serve at room temperature, or cover tightly and refrigerate until chilled. 12 to 16 servings.

 VARIATION: You can also bake the cake in a 13x9-inch pan. Bake about 45 minutes.

 

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KITCHEN TIPS

To plump dried-out raisins, place in hot water for 10 minutes.

For greater volume, bring egg whites to room temperature before whipping.

To keep milk from sticking to a pan, brush the bottom of the pan with butter before pouring in the milk.

To easily measure molasses, honey or syrup, dip cup or spoon either in hot water or brush with oil.

For lighter fritter batter, substitute an equal amount of club soda or beer instead of liquid called for.

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RESTAURANT RECIPES

APPLEBEE'S DEADLY CHOCOLATE SIN

2 tablespoons butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces bitter chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs at room temperature
4 egg yolks at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
6 tablespoons corn starch
1 package frozen red raspberries in heavy syrup (10 ounce) thawed
1 pint fresh raspberries
12 triangular cookies or chocolate pieces
12 sprigs fresh mint

Butter (or coat with no-stick cooking spray) sides and bottoms of 12 4-ounce ramekins and set aside. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine semisweet chocolate, bitter chocolate, butter and vanilla. When butter and chocolate are melted, stir to blend and set aside.

In large bowl of mixer, combine eggs, egg yolks and brown sugar and beat on high 5-7 minutes or until thick and quadrupled in volume. Reduce speed to low and add cornstarch, one tablespoon at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition.

Increase speed to high and beat 5 minutes or until mixture stands in soft peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold the chocolate into the egg mixture, scraping the bottom and sides of bowl frequently.

Divide batter between prepared ramekins and bake in preheated 375ºF oven 10 minutes (cake will be light crusted with a soft center).

Remove from oven and cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, then run a knife blade around edges of cake to separate cake from ramekin. Invert ramekin on serving plate. Lift ramekin, leaving cake in center of plate.

Pour thawed raspberries in blender and puree. Strain and discard seeds. Ladle raspberry coulis around cake and garnish with fresh raspberries, triangular cookie or chocolate piece and mint.

BAREFOOT CONTESSA'S OUTRAGEOUS BROWNIES

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces bitter chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the bitter chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.

 

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