Friday, September 28, 2012

Jilly's Mashed Potatoes

I have been asked over and over how I make my mashed potatoes.  They are creamy, rich, and delicious. I'm always flattered when I get asked this question because I genuinely take pride in my mashed potatoes.  :)  Growing up I spent a lot of time with my Aunt Jan.  She and I have a lot in common, but the main thing we share is our love and passion for food.  She was the one who taught me how to make the worlds best mashed potatoes.  I'm going to share my secrets (although I'm sure a lot of you already do them).  Once you know the main ingredients, you can mix it up and add fun flavorings to get a HUGE variety of different kinds.  
6 Russet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cube of unsalted butter
1/2-1 C. Heavy Cream
Dash of Salt

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Salt your water, and add your cubed potatoes to the water.  Let boil until you can insert a fork into the potato easily.  Drain the potatoes.

Put your cooked potato cubes into a mixer.  Add your butter (I like to use room temp. so it melts and mixes quickly), and salt.  Mix until the potatoes start to break up and then slowly start to pour in your cream about 1/4 cup at a time.  Mix until your potatoes are completely smooth (lump free) and are stiff enough that they hold a form.  (The reason you add your cream so slowly is because you don't want to make them liquidy.)  

Once they get to the consistency that you like, this is when you can add any flavorings.  You can add garlic, sour cream, parsley, or anything else.  If I make a beef roast on Sunday I normally just make the plain mashed because I use gravy on top.  If I am serving them with a pork roast though, I will make garlic mashed with a little parsley mixed in.  It's up to you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

I saw this recipe on pinterest from I was so excited about it, that I had to share it on my page! I tried it, and it's amazing! This girl is brilliant, and I'm so glad she shared. Here you go...

100% Real Fruit Roll-Ups

This recipe is pretty flexible. You have the freedom to pick one fruit or mix different kinds. You can use fresh, frozen and dried fruit. Below the recipe are some fruit combination suggestions, but feel free to try out your own combos too. I suggest making a few different trays of fruit at the same time because these won’t last long in your house and though they are VERY simple to make, they do take a long time to set.

1. Warm the fruit in a pot on the stove and mix it into a puree. If there are seeds in the puree you can pour it into a sieve to get the seeds out (I didn’t).
2. Spread the puree on a oil-sprayed silpat baking mat (my baking love!) or parchment paper (BE SURE to spray! If you don’t it will stick!). 1 1/2 cup of fruit puree is enough for 1 baking sheet, and put in the oven on 140°F (or as low as your oven can go. my stove’s lowest temperature is 170). Leave the oven door open a little bit to let the moisture out.
3. They are done when the puree isn’t sticky anymore, you normally need between 5-8 hours depending on the oven and your fruit choices. (If you live in a warm climate, you can just leave the pan in the sun for the day).
4. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut them and roll them with wax or parchment paper when they are still warm. Enjoy this healthy alternative.

Fruit combination ideas:
Yellow: 1 fresh mango, 200 g dried apricots, 1 orange (the juice) (these came out the best in my opinion!)
Purple: Frozen raspberries, frozen blackberries and 1 banana (these were very seedy, you could replace the raspberries with blueberries)
Green: Kiwi, mango and mint leaves
Blue: Blueberries and grape juice
Red: Strawberries and banana
You can also add spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla pods or mint leaves.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce

 I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I just can't. This recipe is very dear to me because every time I make it, it reminds me of the most special man in my life. This is my Dad's, famous, Cranberry Dessert Cake with the finger licking good, Butter sauce. Oh my goodness it is to die for. My Dad makes this cake on 3 occasions: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Other than that, I'm on my own. Now I follow the recipe and can have it anytime, but mine doesn't even compare to the deliciousness of my Father's. So, I thought all of you should be able to enjoy what I have enjoyed for all of these years. The most delectable, delicious, an delightful dessert you will ever find!  

2 3/4 C. Flour 
2 1/4 C. Sugar 
2 tsp. Baking Powder 
1 tsp. Baking Soda 
1/4 tsp. Salt 
2 C. Sour Cream 
1/2 C. Milk 
1/4 C. Oil 
1/2 tsp. Almond extract 
2 Eggs 
3 1/2 C. Fresh Cranberries 
1/2 C. Butter 
1/2 C. Heavy Whipping Cream 
1 tsp. Vanilla  

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Grease a 9x13 baking dish. 
Combine dry ingredients and mix well. In a mixer combine sour cream, milk, oil, almond extract, and eggs. Beat well. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until creamy and smooth. 
Fold in cranberries until just mixed through. 
Pour into the baking dish and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean. 

While the cake is baking make the buttery glaze. 
In a small saucepan combine the butter, and cream. Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat for 5 minutes and stir in the vanilla. 

To prepare, cut a square of warm cake from the baking dish, place on a plate, and drizzle with the warm butter sauce. I am not kidding, this cake is the most delicious and decadent cake you will ever eat!! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tomato Basil and 3 Cheese Baked Pasta

 I have been having a hard time eating meat lately due to a lot of medical issues I have with my stomach.  I still want a hearty dish to fill me up just like everyone else, so yesterday I decided to make a vegetarian pasta dish, and make it just as hearty as any meat pasta dish.  What I ended up with was a delicious, and filling.  My husband loved it just as much, and didn't even mind that there wasn't any meat.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

1 lb. Rigatoni (or any similar pasta)
28oz. Diced tomatoes with sauce
14oz. Tomato Sauce
8oz. Tomato Paste
2 1/2 tsp. Dried Basil
2 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
2 1/2 tsp. Dried Basil
1 small can of Mushrooms, drained
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Ricotta Cheese (or cottage cheese)
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup shredded Mozzarella

In a big pot pour in your oil and cook your onion and garlic until fragrant.  Pour in your Tomatoes, tomato sauce, 2 tsp. of each seasoning, mushrooms, and salt and pepper.  Slowly work in your tomato paste until smooth.  Once everything is combined and it is hot, turn to simmer and let sit while you cook your pasta.

Cook your pasta according to package directions.  When you put your water on the stove, turn your oven to 350 degrees F. Reserve 1/2 cup of your starchy pasta water when you drain your cooked pasta.

While your water is heating mix all 3 cheeses, and the remaining 1/2 tsp. of each of your dried seasoning together.  Mix until combined and then sit aside.

Once you have cooked and drained your pasta, put back into the hot pot, and mix with cheeses and pasta water until the pasta is well coated with cheese.  

Dump your pasta into a greased 9x13 baking dish, and dump the tomato sauce on top.  Sprinkle with a little cheese if desired and toss in your oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, let sit for about 10 minutes and then serve with my garlic bread recipe.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

American Alfredo Sauce

I was looking at recipes for Alfredo sauce online tonight, and just wasn't finding anything that spoke to me.  Doing what I do, I decided to come up with my own and see if it works. The response was awesome! 
"The Best Alfredo Sauce I have EVER had!" 
"I'll eat these leftovers any day of the week!"
I was pretty excited to say the least.  What was my secret?  Well, that is where we get the "American" title from.  I used Sharp Cheddar cheese, along with a lot of other stuff, but that was my surprising ingredient.  Here's the recipe, and we'll see if your family likes it as much as mine, and my cute 18 year old neighbor girls next door.  Enjoy!

1 Pint Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Half and Half
1 Tbs. Butter
1 tsp. Minced Garlic
1 tsp. Dried Parsley
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/8 tsp. Salt
2 Tbs. Flour
1/2 lb. Grated Parmesan
5-1 inch cubes of Sharp Cheddar Cheese

In a pot melt butter with flour and garlic. Heat just until melted.

Add your cream and half and half. Stir until steaming. Add your seasonings, and then slowly mix in your cheese until completely melted. 

Turn onto simmer and continue to stir occasionally for 30 minutes. 

When you drop your pasta, turn your heat on your sauce completely off and just let sit so it thickens up without heat.

I served mine with grilled chicken breast tenders. I cooked the pasta, and then added the chicken to the pasta once I drained the pasta and then drizzled the sauce over all of it and mixed until it got to the consistency that I wanted.  Enjoy!