Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chunky and Creamy Tomato Bisque

It should look chunky
2 cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 can 14 oz. tomato sauce
1 can 8oz. tomato sauce
1/4 c. fresh parsley chopped
1/4 c. fresh basil chopped
1/4 c. fresh oregano leaves chopped
1 large onion diced
1.8 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 cloves of garlic peeled and grated
6 Tbs. Cream Cheese
1 28 oz can of Hunts Pasta Meat Flavored Sauce
rotini pasta (optional)

dump the Tomatoes with sauce, sauces, parsley, onion, basil, oregano, cream cheese, red pepper flakes, and pasta meat sauce into a deep sauce pan.  Grate your cloves of garlic over the pot.  Let simmer for 25 minutes.  In this time you can add any optionals you want.  I add some cooked ground italian sausage and fresh mushroom and 1 cup of dried rigatoni pasta.  After you've added anything else you like, cover the soup and let simmer for another 25 minutes.  Serve with a really crusty hearty garlic bread.  It's to die for, and I guarantee you're going to love it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Salsa Chicken in the Crock Pot

 Here is a recipe that I threw together because I didn't want to go grocery shopping so I went through the cupboards and found the ingredients to make this delicious dinner work.  It's quick, and easy, and delicious!  Enjoy your dinner tonight!

6-9 chicken thighs
1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed
1 cup Chunky Salsa
1 can White Corn 
2 fresh Garlic cloves peeled and cut in half 
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley chopped
1/4 cup Fresh Basil chopped
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Oil the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.  Placed the chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker.  Mix in a bowl the salsa, corn, and beans.  Pour over your chicken.  Add in the fresh chopped herbs and 2 garlic cloves.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Turn your Crock Pot on low and cook for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.  

My chicken was thawed when I stuck it in the pot, but you can start it frozen.  I serve this dish either over some cooked brown rice or with a thick piece of crusty bread and sprinkled sharp cheddar grated cheese on top.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Homemade Pop Tarts

Growing up my Mom would make the 4 kids in my family breakfast every morning.  We would sit around the table at 7am and eat breakfast together.  It is one of my most favorite childhood memories.  And although I loved homemade breakfast, my favorite day of the week was Saturday because that was the day that we got to eat cold cereal, and pop tarts.  My Mom would buy each of us our favorite cold cereal and if we were lucky our pop tarts.  It was glorious waking up on Saturday and knowing that you got your box of cereal to eat in front of Saturday morning cartoons.  I will never forget how delicious those fresh out of the toaster pop tarts were either.  I loved the strawberry filling and yummy pastry crust.  It was like a deliciously warm, buttery, and melty cookie.  Because of my love for these little treats I was determined to make a more "grown-up" version of the regular old pop-tart.  I have to admit that as I grew up they just didn't taste as great, but I found myself still buying them because I had that memory in my head.  So to satisfy my craving I have come up with a homemade strawberry pop-tart recipe that I think you will all enjoy!

Strawberry Pop Tart
for the Pastry Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

for the Strawberry Filling
¾ cup strawberry jam (or whatever flavor you’d like)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

1 egg beaten (to brush on the top of the pastry crust)

Make the strawberry filling.  Prepare by whisking together the cornstarch and water, and then combine with the jam in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool.

To make the crust, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work in the butter until it is the size of peas and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. Whisk together the egg and milk and add to the dough. Mix together with a fork until everything is evenly moistened. Knead briefly on a floured surface, if necessary, until the dough comes together.
Strawberry Pop Tart
Divide the dough in half. (At this point you can wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) If you refrigerate the dough, let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling out. Roll out one piece of dough to about 1/8-inch thick, in a 9½ by 12½ rectangle. Using a sharp knife, trim the rectangle to 9×12 inches. Cut the sheet of dough into nine 3×4 rectangles. Using a spatula, transfer the rectangles to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  Brush the lightly beaten egg on each of the rectangles. Spoon a tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, leaving a ½-inch of space around the edges.

Roll out and cut the second piece of dough in the exact same manner as you did the first. One at a time, place a second rectangle of dough on top of the nine assembled ones. Using your fingers, press around the seams of the dough to make sure they are sealed. Press the tines of a fork around the edges of the rectangles. Prick the tops of the rectangles in multiple spots to allow steam to escape.
Nutella Pop Tart

Refrigerate the pan with the pastries (you don’t need to cover them) for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving. Store pastries in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Nutella Pop Tart
*Tip* You can also replace the strawberry filling with Nutella for more of a dessert pop tart.  You know how much I love Nutella, and this is a great recipe to use it with!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Savory Tomato and Bacon Cobbler

I know when people think of cobbler they normally think of dessert, and I guess I wanted to challenge that when I came up with this recipe.  I think you can take a dish that is for dessert and change a few things and make it into a main dish.  That is where this recipe came from.  I am really big into using the fresh vegetables out of my garden and that is where these ingredients come from.  So here is my delicious and savory Tomato Cobbler.

For the Filling
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 onions sliced
4 garlic cloves sliced
3 lbs. Cherry Tomatoes
3 Tbs. Flour
a handful of FRESH Oregano, Parsley, and Basil chopped
1 lb. Bacon, cooked and chopped (you want it crispy)
Pepper to taste

for the Biscuit Topping

2 cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 stick COLD Butter cut into little pieces
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream

Make the filling.  Cook bacon in a skillet or oven (however you do it) until cripsy.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onions until caramelized (about 25 minutes).  Add the garlic and cook until translucent (about 3 minutes).  Let cool.  Toss onion mixture, tomatoes, flour, cooked bacon, herbs, and a pinch of pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Make the biscuit topping.  Whisk together all the dry ingredients plus 1 tsp. salt.  Mix in the butter with your hands until small clumps form.  Stir in the cheeses and cream stirring with a fork until the dough forms.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish.  Put the tomato mixture into the dish and then spoon 7 clumps of the biscuit mixture on top.  Make the dough about 2 inches deep (make each clump about 1/2 cup).  Cover the tomato and bacon mixture.

Brush the top of the dough with a little cream and sprinkle with a little romano cheese.  Bake until the tomatoes are bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown.  About 1 hour and 10 minutes. 

When done, take out of oven and place on a wire cooling rack for about 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!

Lemon Glaze

I wanted you all to have the lemon glaze recipe that I use with my Blueberry tea cakes, so here you go.  (and just remember that you can use this glaze with anything you want, not just the tea cakes!)

1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 Tbs. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp. grated Lemon zest

Mix everything together in a mixing bowl with a whisk and pour over tea cakes.

Blueberry and Lemon Tea Cakes

I love fresh, ripe, and plump blueberries in the summer.  They are at their prime for the entire year, and they are absolutely amazing.  I would buy them by the truckload if I could, but since I can't I just get a big crate of them at Sam's club, and go wild baking everything I possibly can.  Plus, I have a little snack while I'm slaving away in the kitchen....I pop them in my mouth every few minutes while I bake.  One of the best things about baking is the taste testing throughout the entire recipe.  :) 

I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things to use whether baking or cooking is lemon.  It's so versatile, and delicious.  It just adds a little 'POP' to any dish.  I enjoy little treats like this with my morning tea, and that is where I came up with this recipe.  I think yummy breads or cakes go great with tea.  I took my base recipe that I have for my banana bread and came up with this delicious blueberry and lemon cake/bread.  I know you are going to die and go to heaven when you taste it.  I promise you will instantly fall in love with this yummy little treat.

1 stick unsalted Butter
2 cups Flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 Tbs. finely grated Lemon zest
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed Lemon juice (about 4 lemons. just use the lemons you used for zesting)
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
Pinch of Salt
2 large Eggs
1 1/4 cups fresh Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F
Butter 9-2 1/2x4 inch loaf pans and dust with flour but dumping out the excess.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved and the syrup thickens (about 4 minutes).  Set aside while you make the bread.

Meanwhile combine heavy cream, remaining 2 Tbs. lemon juice, and the vanilla in a bowl.  Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt in another bowl.

Beat the butter, lemon zest, and remaining cup of sugar with a mixer until it looks pale and fluffy.  Reduce the speed and add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well between each one.  Mix in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with the cream mixture.  So do 1 part flour mixture, 1 part cream mixture, 1 part flour mixture...etc.

Gently fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula trying to not break them apart too much.
Divide the batter evenly among the 9 pans and bake on a rimmed baking sheet.  You want to bake until you can insert a toothpick into the center of each cake and it comes out clean.  It should take about 30 minutes.

When the cakes are done baking, remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack.  (don't take the cakes out of the pans immediately.  You want them to cool inside their pans for about 15 minutes before removing them.  As soon as you take them out of the oven and put them on the cooling rack just take a knife and slowly go around the edges.  This will help with removal of the cakes once they are a little cool.

To serve you can just do it plain or how I serve mine is with a little fresh sweet cream butter for a morning treat, and if I'm eating it in the afternoon I will serve it with a little lemon glaze. Enjoy!!

Chicken and Veggie Slow Cooker Casserole

I was in the mood for a crockpot dinner this morning, but I also wanted to try something new.  I got my kitchen shears and headed out to my garden to see what I was going to work with.  I knew in my refrigerator that I had chicken and sausage, so I had to find something to work with one of those.  When I got out there I saw that some fresh squash, zucchini, and potatoes had grown.  I also saw all of my delicious herbs, and knew I could do something with all of them.  I cut off some oregano, parsley, and basil.  I then picked a yellow zucchini, green squash, and a few potatoes.  Then I headed into the house to come up with dinner.

I got into the kitchen, pulled out the crockpot, looked at my ingredients and decided that chicken was going to be the main part of this dish.  Then I headed to my pantry to see what I had to mix with my fresh food.  I pulled out a couple of cans of soup, some chicken stock and broth, and started working.  Here is what I came up with...

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 squash cut into chunks
1 zucchini cut into chunks
1 onion chopped
4 potatoes cut into chunks
1 cup of carrots either cut into chunks or baby carrots
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup chicken stock
3 cubes of chicken bouillon
a handful of parsley, oregano, and basil, chopped
a handful of jasmine rice
4 whole garlic cloves peeled
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
Coat your slow cooker with olive oil so your ingredients don't stick.  Throw your chopped onion, bouillon, and garlic on the bottom of your slow cooker.  Layer your chicken, and veggies.  
In a mixing bowl combine your soup and chicken broth/stock.  Mix well and then dump over your chicken and veggies. 
Sprinkle in your seasonings, and turn slow cooker on low.  Let cook for 5 hours.  At 5 hours throw your rice in and mix well.  Continue letting cook on low for about 1 more hour or until rice is soft.  Serve. 

Make sure to not season too much.  If you taste it before your rice has softened, it will taste like it has too much or too little salt and pepper, but once your rice has absorbed the juices that is when you should season your dish.  Your meal will taste completely different once you add that rice, so wait until it's cooked to do your main seasoning.

Make sure that once the rice is cooked that you turn your slow cooker off or it will just get softer and softer and keep sucking up those juices that are keeping all of your ingredients yummy and juicy.

This was a big hit at my house tonight.  It was the perfect comfort, home style meal that I was looking for.  It was super easy and so much fun to use the 1st of my fresh veggies of the year in my dinner!  Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lazy Chicken

This is by far my most favorite chicken recipe I have ever come up with.  I purchased a bunch of different Olive Oils from Park City Olive Oil company on our summer trip there last year.  If you would like to check out their site you can click here. They have the neatest little shop where you can go in and taste all their different oils and vinegars.  (I'm a little obsessed with Olive Oil I know.)  When I got home following that little vacay, I wanted to use some of my new oil.  I really enjoy the simple taste of good Olive Oil, so I wanted that flavor to really be the center of my dish.  This is what I came up with...

(using chicken with skin
3 lbs. Chicken pieces all approx. the same size
1-1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes
4 Yellow Onions, peeled and quartered
1/4 Cup of each of these FRESH herbs chopped....Parsley, Basil, Oregano
1/2 tsp. Dried Rosemary
1/4 tsp. dried Thyme
2/3 Cup High-Grade Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 cloves Garlic peeled
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper for taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

(using skinless chicken)
In a 9x13 baking dish mix all the ingredients together.  I always mix these ingredients by hand.  I place everything in the dish and just mix until everything is covered in the oil, and herbs.  Then I sprinkle the salt and pepper on top.  This just guarantees that every inch is covered and going to be delicious.
Bake for 55-60 minutes stirring every 15 and basting occasionally.
 If the potatoes are big or the chicken is thick it will take a little longer to cook.  I normally cut the red potatoes in 1/2 and if I am using chicken breasts I normally cute them in 1/2.

You can also use russet potatoes if you'd like but just cut them into slices.  With the Olive Oil, if you feel like you don't have enough drizzle a little more on.  During baking I will normally bake half way through and then drizzle a little more Olive Oil on top.                          

Garlicy Chicken

If you love garlic, you are going to LOVE this recipe.  I am obsessed with garlic.  It is by far one of my most favorite ingredients.  I think it adds taste, and character to a dish.  It's also great if you are not wanting to kiss your date at the end of dinner.  ;)  I love roasted garlic chicken that I bake in the oven, but anything that can be cooked in the oven can be made in your crock-pot, so here it is.

Garlic, and even MORE Garlic Chicken
3-4 pounds of chicken (I used a large pack of legs.  You could use any cut you like)
1 large onion, sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper
20-40 garlic cloved, peeled but left whole (I used 1 bulb of garlic)

Toss the onions in the bottom of the crockpot.  In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the other ingredients.  I used my hands to mix it all up.  Put the chicken in the crockpot on top of the onions.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. 
Because of the paprika, the chicken turns out an appetizing color, something I find unusual in crockpot cooking.  Anyway (don't mind my random thoughts) I served the garlic and onions over a little seasoned wild rice and it was perfectly delicious.  The garlic would also be good smeared on hot bread.

Sunday Chicken Dinner

The great thing about crock-pot cooking is that you can make it to fit how many people you are cooking for.  This recipe is really yummy and great for Sunday dinner.  My ingredients are basic, so just adjust to your family size.
Chicken Pieces (boneless or with bones)
3 Big Potatoes sliced
4-5 Big Carrots chopped
1 chopped Onion
about 2 cups (or 1 can) of chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Salt and Pepper 
1/2 C. fresh Parsley chopped
1/4 C. fresh Basil leaves chopped
2 Garlic cloves minced

The amounts are dependent on how many people you’re cooking for.  I normally use 1 good size boneless chicken breast per person.  I also normally use 1-2 Carrots per person.  (You just need to look at your ingredients when you have them all ready and see what is going to be enough for your family.)

Place the chicken on the bottom of the crockpot.  Put the veggies on top of the chicken.  Stir the broth, garlic, parsley, basil, and soup together with the salt and pepper.  Pour over the veggies and chicken.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

You can thicken the broth to make gravy.  Remove the chicken and veggies from the pot.  Turn the heat to high.  In a container with a tight fitting lid, add several Tbs. of flour.  Add some water and shake to make a thick paste.  I also had a teeny tiny bit of cornstarch and whisk the flour mixture and the cornstarch into the soup/broth mixture.  Whisk until it is thick, but still pours.  It's based on personal preference.  I also add a can of mushrooms to my gravy.

(You can also squeeze half of a fresh lemon over the chicken when you place it in the crock-pot just for a little taste.  I think it really brings everything together nicely, but only if you like the lemon flavor and aroma in your cooking.)  Enjoy!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ooey Gooey Caramel Corn

This is the best caramel corn on the planet!  I find a lot of caramel corn that isn't as gooey as I would hope, so my Mom made this recipe and we have used it since I was little.  You can add or subtract popcorn to your liking, but I like mine with a little less so that when you are pulling it apart the caramel stretches because it's so ooey and gooey.  Enjoy!

1 1/2-2 C. Popcorn
1 can sweet and condensed milk
2 cubes butter
1 C. light Karo syrup
2 1/4 C. packed Brown Sugar

Pop the corn in your popcorn maker.  You want enough to fill a BIG tupperware bowl.  It should take 1-2 C. unpopped popcorn.
In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  When butter is melted all the sweet and condensed milk, Karo syrup, and brown sugar.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, on medium heat so it doesn't scorch the bottom.  When the mixture comes to a boil continue boiling for 6-7 minutes.  (You want the caramel to mold into a soft ball.  You do this by taking a cup of COLD water and drizzling a little of that caramel into it.  When it cools enough for you to touch it roll it around in your fingers and see if it forms a ball.  If it just drizzles through your fingers you need to cook it longer.  If it molds into a ball and little bit and then starts to drizzle that is what you want.  As long as you are cooking over medium heat it should be about 7 minutes from the moment it starts to boil.)
Dump the caramel over the popcorn in a BIG bowl.  Stir with your wooden spoon until all the popcorn is covered.  (Make sure to continuously scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all of that caramel on the popcorn and not on the bottom of the bowl.)  Enjoy!! 

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I'm so excited about this recipe I can't even stand it!  This is my MONEY saver recipe for the week.  You are just going to die at how easy, awesome, delicious, and exciting, this recipe is.  :)
I don't know about all of you, but I spend so much stinkin money on Vanilla Extract every year.  I am really ridiculous when it comes to my vanilla.  I always purchase it online because there is this specific mexican vanilla that I am in love with and I can't find it anywhere by my house.  It gets to be pricey though, so I have researched and sought out how to make my own all for you readers.  I promise this is the most easy and fail proof recipe on the planet and it will save you a ton of money if you like to bake. 

12 oz. Vodka
3 Vanilla Beans
1 Mason Jar

Use a sharp knife split vanilla beans in half length wise. Place in mason jar (or any tight fitting glass container) and cover with vodka. Make sure the lid is on tightly and put jars in a dark cool place. Give them a little shake every week or so. They will be ready in two months. The flavors develop more the longer they sit. When you start to run low simply add more vodka to your jar and you will never run out of vanilla extract!

This recipe is also GREAT for gift giving.  Anyone who likes to bake is going to LOVE this gift.  :)  Look at that, it's only July and I already have your neighbor Christmas gifts ready.  Just make sure to start now because it takes 2 months for this recipe to sit and get ready.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Coconut Balls

I absolutely love coconut balls.  I think they're great for parties, Christmas, and Valentine's day.  They are super delicious and buttery and they completely melt in your mouth.  You can do lots of fun things with these.  You can dip them in chocolate and then sprinkle coconut, ice them, or roll them in nuts.  Whatever makes you happy go for it!  They are good just about any way you make them.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Mix in flour and salt until they're just combined. Stir in coconut.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake until just starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Roll the warm cookies in confectioners' sugar; let cool completely.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Berry Brunch Scones

I love scones.  I think they are the perfect breakfast, brunch, or dessert.  They are moist, buttery, and delicious.  I love scones just plain, but I also love fruit filled scones.   This scone recipe is more along the lines of the scones that are served at Starbucks vs. the Fair.  They make the perfect weekend breakfast.  With summer here, you can use all those delicious fresh berries from you garden as well!

Berry Scone
2 C. Flour
3 T. sugar
1 T. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Salt
6 T. cold unsalted butter
3/4 C. raspberries
3/4 C. cranberries
1 t. lemon zest
1/3 C. Heavy Cream
2 eggs
Sugar for sprinkling on top when finished

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt
cut the butter into pieces and work through your fingers until mashed.  mix into the flour mixture and add the lemon zest.  (I just work the dough with my fingers until well mixed)
Whisk together cream and eggs.  Make a little hole in the flour mixture and pour the liquid into the middle.  Mix with fingers until the dough comes together. 
Knead on your counter in a little flour until the dough is a little sticky.
Pat the dough into about a 5 inch square.  Make it about 1 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Cut dough into rectangles about 2x3 inches.  (if you want triangle squares cut the rectangles into triangles.)
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Brush the top of your scones with a little cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Cook for 20-22 minutes until golden brown on top.  Let cool or eat hot with butter or my honey butter recipe.

Ode to Jello

In my opinion Jello is one of the most versatile, fun, and delicious desserts on the planet.  Being from Utah I have grown up with this treat.  Out of all 50 states, Utah uses the most Jello per year.  I also think that Jello is a super fun summer treat, so I thought it would be fun to write up some of my favorite Jello recipes.  Thanks to my mother and grandmother I have some really fun recipes that I know you will love!

Red, White, and Blue, Jello Pie

1-1/2 cups boiling water, divided
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Berry Blue Gelatin
1 cup ice cubes, divided
1 graham cracker crust (8/9-in)
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Strawberry Gelatin (or any red flavor)
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Topping
Stir 3/4 cup of boiling water into dry blue gelatin until completely dissolved (2 minutes). Add 1/2 cup of the ice cubes and stir until ice is completely melted. Jello will probably thicken slightly. Pour into pie crust; refrigerate 5 to 10 minutes or until gelatin is set.
Meanwhile, stir remaining 3/4 cup boiling water into dry red gelatin til completely dissolved (2 minutes). Add remaining 1/2 cup ice cubes and stir until ice is completely melted. Let stand at room temperature until blue jello is set (10 minutes).
Spread Cool Whip evenly over blue gelatin layer in crust. Gently cover Cool Whip with red gelatin. Refrigerate 2 hours or until set.
Store leftover pie in refrigerator.
Note: You can use the sugar-free versions of the jello flavors used in this recipe and low-fat Cool Whip to make a lighter dessert.

Rainbow Jello Treat
4 small packages of Jello
4 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Mix 1 pkg. of Jello with 1/2 tablespoon of gelatin. Add a cup of boiling water and stir to dissolve. Cool to room temperature and pour into whichever container you want your rainbow Jello in. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the can of sweetened condensed milk with 1 cup of boiling water. In a bowl, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water and let bloom for a couple of minutes then add 1/2 cup of boiling water to dissolve. Stir well, add to the milk mixture and mix thoroughly. Cool to room temperature before pouring over the first layer of Jello. Refrigerate until firm.
Repeat the first step with the remaining jello while alternating with the milk mixture. Let the Jello firm up completely, then slice and serve!

Raspberry Refrigerator Jello Cake
For the Jello Cake:
1 small package raspberry jello
1 white cake mix
For the Topping:
1 envelope dream whip
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups cold milk
1 small package vanilla instant pudding mix

Make the cake according to the directions on the box and bake in a 9 by 13 inch pan. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Combine the raspberry jello with ¾ cup boiling water and ½ cup cold water.
Poke deep holes into the cake, about ½ inch apart, and pour the jello slowly into the cake.
Refrigerate the cake while you make the topping. Do not make the hole right through the cake or the jello will run out and make a mess!
Blend the dream whip; milk, vanilla, and pudding mix until stiff. Use this mixture to frost the cake immediately and store it in a refrigerator.
This cake is best served chilled....Enjoy!

I hope you have as much serving these yummy Jello treats at all your summer BBQ's!!  I have lots more, but these are my top 3 of all my Mom's Jello recipes.  If you like these let me know and I will make sure to post more fun Jello recipes  :)  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Best Pizza Dough (from scratch) Recipe EVER

I know this seems like a lot of directions and long process, but homemade dough really is the best.  If you want something easy, just refer to my rhodes rolls pizza dough recipe.  :)

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold (40°F)
cornmeal for dusting

1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a tea- spoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky.

2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment and misting the parchment with spray oil (or lightly oil the parchment). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas), You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it, Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food plastic bag.

3. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. (Note: If you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.)

4. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food plastic bag. Let rest for 2 hours.

5. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven as hot as possible, most home ovens will go only to 500 to 550F, but some will go higher. If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.

6. Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with cornmeal. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift I piece of dough by getting under it with a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue shaping it. Once you have a little shape to it, you can use your rolling pin and roll it out until it is about 9-12 inches in diameter.

7. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction, lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough cornmeal to allow it to slide. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 4 minutes.  Take out and put on your toppings.  The American "kitchen sink" (where you put everything onto your pizza) approach is counterproductive, as it makes the crust more difficult to bake. A few, usually no more than 3 or 4 toppings, including sauce and cheese is sufficient.

8. Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower shelf. If the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone.  Basically just watch your pizza and bake it to your liking.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nutella Brownies

The Nutella cupcakes were such a huge hit, that I decided to do another nutella recipe.  Everyone loves brownies so why not throw Nutella in them and make them spectacular?!

Ingredients for Brownie Batter
1 cup butter, unsalted
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Nutella

1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Topping Ingredients (optional)
White chcolate chips
Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Then set the bowl aside.
On low heat, melt the butter sticks in a small pot.  Then add the vanilla and sugar while stirring the mixture until well combined. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool.  (I poured the butter/sugar mixture into a medium bowl to cool.)
Once the butter/sugar mixture is completely cooled add the eggs one at a time, making sure to mix each time.
Add the cocoa/flour mixture to the egg mixture gradually, until completely mixed together.
Heat a nutella container in the microwave for a bout 40 seconds.  You want the nutella to have a runny consistency which will allow the nutella to pour easily.  Add the nutella to the batter and mix well.  Lastly add the chocolate chips and fold into the batter.
Pour your batter into a buttered square pan… (I like to parchment paper to my pan before pouring my brownie batter inside.  This makes it easier to take your brownies out after they bake and cool)  Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool completely.  Due to its chocolate amounts the brownie may be sticky and fudgey inside, which to me is the best way to eat them but if they are too fudgey you can stick them in the refrigerator for a little bit.  I left mine in there for a few hours, but you could always leave them in there overnight.
Take the completely cooled brownies out of the fridge and cut in squares.  Then pour a tablespoon of nutella on each brownie square.  Then sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and white chocolate chips on top.  I did not have white chocolate chips but had a white chocolate bar that I just chopped up in small pieces.  Either way it works.  This is completely optional.  I usually just eat mine plain, but the topping looks the best if you are taking them to a part or something fun.  :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Honey Butter

In my opinion Summer is the perfect time for scones.  Growing up the carnival would come into town the beginning of June and they always sold the most amazing scones that were lathered with Honey Butter.  I don't live in my hometown anymore, so I have had to start making my own scones, and honey butter.  I have to pat myself on the back because I think my Honey Butter recipe is so much better than the carnie's butter.  :)  So here is the delicious recipe!

1 C. Real Butter
2/3 C. Honey
3/4 C. Powdered Sugar

Let the butter sit on the counter and soften for about 20 minutes or 40 if it is frozen.
Place the butter in a mixing bowl and add the honey and powdered sugar.  Beat with an electric mixer for about 40 seconds or until everything is creamy looking and fluffy.  Serve on bread, scones, pancakes, or anything you like a little sweet butter taste to.  :)

Brazilian Lemonade

This is a good twist on regular Lemonade.  I love limes, and this is such a yummy, creamy, limey drink.  :) 

1 C. Sugar
6 C. Cold Water
4 Juicy Limes (roll between your hands before using)
6 Tbs. Sweetened Condensed Milk
Mix cold water and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved.  
Wash limes througholy with hand washing soap and water.  Cut the ends off of each of the limes.  Place half of the limes in your blender and half of the sugar water.  Pulse for 5 times.
Place a fine mesh strainer over your pitcher that you are going to serve the lemonade in, and pour the blended mixture through the strainer into the pitcher.  Use a spoon to press the rest of the liquid out of the contents that are caught by the mesh strainer.
Whisk in sweetened condensed milk.  Serve over lots of ice and a lime wedge in a fun beautiful glass!  You can also dip the top of your glass in water and then dip in sea salt.  It's a fun little extra.

Orange Marshmallow Fruit Dip

All of the yummy summer fruits are in stores now, so why not have a delicious dip for them?!  Here is one of my favorites that I use.  It is incredible with strawberries and apples!

1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. Orange Zest
3 Tbs. Fresh Orange juice (just squeeze the oranges that you use for zesting)
1/4 tsp. Vanilla
1 (7oz) jar Marshmallow cream
Pinch of Salt

Beat cream cheese, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla, and salt until creamy.  Add the marshmallow cream and mix until well combined.  Eat with your favorite fruits!

Chocolate Coconut Bars

I am a little obsessed with coconut today, so here is one final recipe before I go to bed.  They are yummy and delicious and melt in your mouth good!

1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1 2/3 C. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 C. flaked coconut
1 C. crushed walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.  In a large bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, milk, chocolate, and coconut, until well blended.  Put parchment paper in the bottom of your pan and then spread the mixture into the square pan, distributing evenly. Sprinkle walnuts on top.  Bake for 30min. and let cook before cutting into bars.

You can also drizzle melted chocolate on top if you would like just as a finishing touch.  :)

Creamy Chicken and Orzo Skillet

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
1 small zucchini chopped
1 (10oz) tub of Philidelphia cream cheese and herb cooking cream
1/2 C. chopped tomatoes
2 C. hot cooked Orzo

Cook the chicken and zucchini in a large, non-stick skillet on medium heart for 6-7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Add cooking cream and tomatoes; cook and stir 2 minutes.
Serve over hot pasta