Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coconut Macaroons

OK, I have been waiting to post this recipe ever since I started this blog, but we have been trying to be good and not have treats - but it is a holiday this week and I think we need cookies!

I was on a quest to find the perfect coconut macaroon cookie. I tried every possible variation and recipe I could find. Some had a strange texture, some had a fake almond taste. I finally stumbled on this recipe and I was SO excited! I think it is the perfect coconut macaroon. The original recipe called for a canned soft almond paste, but I couldn't find it anywhere around here, so I used this thicker tube of almond paste and grated it. If you are a coconut nut like me, you have to try these. These are the BEST!!!!

Very few ingredients.

Grating the almond paste in my food processor.

The grated almond paste.

I found that puting the coconut in the food processor and pulsing it 8-10 times makes the coconut not so stringy and a better consistnacy for the cookies.

I love using silpat mats to bake my cookies on - non-stick without having to spray the pans.

Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from Lion House Desserts
1 14-ounce bag sweetened, shredded coconut coarsely chopped
(I put mine in the food processor and pulse it a few times)
1 7-ounce package of Pure Almond Paste – grated (Target is the cheapest place I’ve found for this. I grate mine using the grating attachment on my food processor)
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 egg whites, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with wax paper; set aside. (I use silpat instead) In a large bowl, combine coconut, almond paste, sugar, flour and salt. Stir in the egg whites until well mixed. Drop mixture onto prepared baking sheet, shaping into rounds. (I use a small ice cream scoop) Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until lightly browned but still soft in the center. Cool on wire rack. Makes 2 dozen. (I have a convection oven, so I can cook both pans at the same time with my convection oven set at 300 and cook for 20 minutes, switching the pans half way through)

Easter Edition
I just made these macaroons and shaped them like little nests and baked them.  I then put in Cadbury Mini Eggs to make a cute little Easter treat.  This combines two of my very favorite things! YUMMMY!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cranberry Orange Relish

I LOVE cranberry sauce on turkey! I have tried several recipes, and like this one the best. Another great thing to make ahead for Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Orange Relish
Adapted from Lion House Entertaining Cookbook

4 ½ c cranberries
1 ½ c sugar
1 c orange marmalade
1 tsp lemon peel, grated
2 tsp orange peel, grated
1 fresh orange, peeled and diced
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice

Mix together the cranberries and sugar. Place in a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven and stir in orange marmalade, lemon peel, orange peel, diced orange and lemon juice. Mix well and refrigerate. Makes 8-10 servings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Whenever I am making Thanksgiving Dinner, my biggest worry is "What if I don't have good drippings to make gravy?" I have been known to buy several bottles of gravy to have on hand 'just in case'. Last year, I saw this idea in a magazine. It is a recipe for make-ahead turkey gravy that you can make even months ahead if you want and then freeze it until Thanksgiving. It took all the worry out of the day for me. It calls for turkey wings, which I found at Walmart last year, but couldn't find anywhere this year, so I used turkey drumsticks instead and it worked great-giving us lots of cooked turkey to use for other recipes. I made it today and we had an old fav for dinner tonight from our newlywed years - turkey and gravy over toast. Great memories!

This is the picture of the turkey before it goes in the oven

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
Makes about 4-5 cups of gravy

• 6 turkey wings (or drumsticks)
• 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
• 1 cup water
• 2 quarts chicken broth, divided
• 3/4 cup chopped carrot
  1 stalk of celery chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Arrange a single layer of turkey wings in a large roasting pan. Scatter the onions over the top of the wings. Roast in the preheated oven for 1-1/4 hours or until wings are browned.

2. Place browned wings and onions in a 5 quart stockpot. Add water to roasting pan and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the water from the pan into the stockpot. Stir in 6 cups broth, carrot, celery and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1-1/2 hours.

3. Remove wings from the pot and place on a cutting board. When the wings are cool, pull off the skin and meat. Discard the skin and save the meat for another use. Strain contents of stockpot through a large strainer into a 3 quart saucepan. Press on the vegetables to extract any remaining liquid. Discard the vegetables and skim the fat off the liquid. Bring the contents of the pot to a gentle boil.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk flour into the remaining 2 cups chicken broth until smooth. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the simmering turkey broth; simmer 3-4 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Stir in the butter and pepper. Serve immediately or pour into containers and refrigerate or freeze.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

This is a very easy homemade bread recipe. The bread is really good made with oatmeal, or I enjoy making it with this 5 grain rolled cereal instead. I like how simple this recipe is - you add all the flour and yeast at the beginning and after adding the rest of the ingredients, you simply turn on your mixer and let it knead! Enjoy!!!

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1 c. water
1 c. old fashioned oats (I like to use 5 grain - rolled whole grain hot cereal)
Bring water to boil and add oatmeal. Boil for 1 minute then cool until warm

1 c. warm milk (I microwave it for 1 ½ minutes – your time may vary)
3 TBSP cold butter (cut up and added to the hot milk –this melts the butter and cools the milk enough)
3 TBSP honey

In mixer bowl combine:
3+ c. bread flour
2 ¼ tsp. rapid rise yeast (one envelope)
2 tsp. salt

Add the oats to the flour mixture, and then add the milk mixture.
Knead with a dough hook in a mixer for 10 minutes (once it is combined) Add more flour as needed to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Let rise, covered, until doubled

Form into loaf by gently pressing the dough into a 9 inch square, then roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed and put in bread pan, seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap.

Let rise until doubled

Brush with 1 TBSP melted butter
Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes (Set an empty loaf pan on the oven rack next to the bread and fill it half full with boiling water)

Flip the bread out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

When I saw this recipe demonstrated on Good Things Utah (a local TV show), I knew I had to try it. It was SO something I would make! I made it and we loved it. The next week, I was visiting my daughter and she pulled out a recipe that she said I HAD to try - it was this same recipe! About a month later, we were at a family party and my niece came up to me and said that she had a recipe that her family loved, that she knew I would like - once again - this same recipe! It was destiny!!! (Or as my husband says "my density") It may look like a lot of steps, but don't be scared off - it is really easy to put together. I divide mine into two 9x9 square pans and freeze one before it is baked to save for another night when I am too busy to cook. It freezes beautifully, and half is just right for the two of us (with a few leftovers). It has a very fresh taste - SOOO good!

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas
As seen on Good Things Utah (with a few adaptations)

1/3 c honey
¼ c fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes)
2 tsp chili powder
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), cooked and shredded (once again, I use the Costco rotisserie chicken-which I buy, cut up and keep frozen and always on hand)
12 white corn tortillas
2 c grated cheddar cheese
1 14-oz can of green enchilada sauce (mild or medium)
½ c. whipping cream (not whipped)
Nonstick cooking spray
1 TBSP chopped cilantro, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Place the cooked and shredded chicken in a bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, place the honey, lime juice, chili powder and minced garlic. Whisk together thoroughly. Pour this mixture over the chicken and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to marinate while you prepare the tortillas, 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, in the refrigerator.

Heat a large griddle till a drop of water skitters across. Spray the surface with non-stick cooking spray or oil in between each round of tortillas. Heat tortillas about 20 seconds on each side till warm and flexible and some golden brown spots have appeared. Remove the tortillas from the griddle and keep them between a couple of paper towels until ready to use.

Spray the sides and bottom of a 9x13 pan lightly with cooking spray(or it can be broken up into two 9x9 pans). In a medium bowl combine the enchilada sauce and the whipping cream. Spread about ½ c of the mixture in the bottom of the oiled baking dish.

Add a large spoonful (about 2 TBSP) of the chicken mixture to the center of each tortilla in a line. Cover the chicken with a large TBSP of cheese, then roll the tortilla up from one side to make a rolled enchilada-it will be more of an over lap on the seam side when rolled tightly. Place the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish, starting at one end with the long edge parallel to the longest side of the pan so that you end up with two columns of six enchiladas each.

Repeat with the remaining chicken, cheese and tortillas. You will use about 1 ½ c. of the cheese for the filling and set the remainder aside for topping the enchiladas in the pan. Add the remaining marinade mixture to the enchilada sauce and cream mixture, if desired. Pour this mixture over the top of all the enchiladas. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake the enchiladas for 30 -35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and starting to brown on top. Serve with sour cream, black beans, and rice or a greed salad for a great meal.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lime Curd (Fruit Dip)

I saw a caterer on TV talking about a new idea for wedding food. She makes lime curd and uses it as a dip for strawberries. It looked so good! I searched on the Internet and found a recipe and have made this for many a party or shower - it is always a hit! You will want to eat it by the spoonful.

Lime Curd
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
4 limes at room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
1 cube butter at room temperature
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
2 drops green food coloring
Remove the zest of 4 limes with a zester or vegetable peeler, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the limes to make 1/2 cup of juice and set the juice aside. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lime zest. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lime juice, food coloring and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lime curd will thicken at about 175 degrees or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Serve as a dip with fresh strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chicken and Corn Chowder with Sweet Potatoes

I have been on the hunt for recipes using sweet potatoes lately. I really like them! When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. We loved it! It is really good and very easy. We loved the chunks of sweet potatoes and chicken and the rich creamy texture of the soup - without much added fat! Chicken and Corn Chowder with Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Cook's Country (serves 6-8)

3 c whole milk
1 c yellow corn muffin mix (I used the Betty Crocker mix, found near the cake mixes)
2 TBSP butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 qts. chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 sweet potatoes/yams (about 1 1/2 lbs.) peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 c shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
3 c frozen corn (not thawed)
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix milk and muffin mix in a bowl until well combined. Meanwhile, heat butter in large pot over medium heat until foaming. Add onion and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, chicken and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sweet potatoes are just tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in milk and muffin mixture and simmer until soup thickens, about 10 minutes. Add cheese and corn and cook until cheese begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. ( I didn't add the cheese and parsley until after the bowls were dished up - using them as a garnish)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Easy Hot Fudge Sauce

This recipe is from my friend Debbie. It is one that - almost every time I make it for something, people want the recipe. It is SO easy! You can whip it up in minutes and it is really good. (Be sure to try it on the fried ice cream - see recipe below)
Hot Fudge Sauce
1 cube butter
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate
1 can sweetened-condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt

Melt the butter and the square of chocolate over low heat. When melted, stir in the sweetened condensed milk and stir until mixed together. Continue to stir and cook until fudge sauce is hot, but not to a boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt. Serve over just about anything!

Fried Ice Cream

My daughter-in-law requested this for her birthday dinner today. I had forgotten about it. It is called fried ice cream, but as you can see, no frying involved - it just tastes like the fried ice cream you get at restaurants. It is really good served with hot fudge (recipe to follow) and fresh strawberries. Happy Birthday Aubrey! Fried Ice Cream
4 c. corn flakes (2 c. crushed)
1 c. coconut
2/3 c. sugar
1 cube butter melted
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened by leaving out for 15-20 min.

Mix the first four ingredients together. Spread half of the mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Next, add the 1/2 gallon of ice cream, sliced in 1" thick slices, placed side by side. Cover with the rest of the mixture. Cover with foil and freeze. Serve with fresh sliced fruit and hot fudge sauce.

Helpful Hint: I found that putting the corn flakes in a gallon zip-lock freezer bag and crushing them with a rolling pin works well. Then, just add the coconut and sugar to the bag and shake to combine. Then, add the melted butter and mix it up. No dishes! Yahoo!!!
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