Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This recipe for monkey bread is super easy! Every time I make it, I let the kids help! They love rolling the balls, giving the balls a "sugar bath" and pouring all the cream and butter on top! Monkey bread is a great dish to serve for breakfast during the holidays or when you have guests. It's fun to make and yum to eat! What could be better?

1 lrg Ziplock freezer bag
2 tubes of Pillsbury Grand buttermilk biscuits
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 heaping Tbl. cinnamon
1/2 c. heavy cream
6 Tbl. butter, melted

Oven 350
Put sugars and cinnamon in Ziplock bag and combine. Divide each biscuit into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. After dough has been rolled place balls (4-6 at a time) into bag with sugars and cinnamon and shake to coat. Place sugared dough balls into a greased bundt pan. The balls should touch and by the time the last one is put into the pan they will be all squished.

Warm butter and cream in the microwave for about 1 minute. Pour warm cream mixture on top of the sugared dough balls. Sprinkle the leftover sugar and cinnamon on top of the dough balls. Bake for 35 minutes.

Let bread stand at least 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving place.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

I'm telling you straight up, this is the best pot pie I have ever made! Thank you to my rockin' sister-in-law, Jen, for the recipe! Yes, I messed with the filling adding nutmeg, a variety of veggies and a little cream, but, I didn't touch the crust...and this crust is OH-SO-GOOD! Who would have thought using cream cheese in the dough would yield such a magnificently golden, savory crust? This dish was warm, cozy and just the perfect thing to eat on a this very chilly evening! I will make this again and again during the winter months! I bet you will, too!

1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
3 Tbl shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk
2 Tbl light cream
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 c. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. corn (frozen or canned)
1/2 c. carrots, finely chopped (cut the carrots very small so they cook all the way through when baking)

1 2/3 c. flour
2 tsp celery seed
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, cold & cubed
1/3 c. butter, cold and cubed
1 Tbl milk (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F

Spray an 8"X8" baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Filling Directions:
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots & garlic; saute for 4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in flour, nutmeg and salt & pepper. Cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and milk. Use a whisk to combine liquids with flour mixture. Bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes, stirring all the while. Remove from heat and add vegetables and cooked chicken cubes. Set aside.

Combine flour & celery seed in bowl. Cut in cream cheese and butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.

Work by hand until dough forms ball (you have to REALLY work dough to combine. If you are having trouble, add 1 Tbl of milk. Do not add more than 2 Tbl of milk). Once dough is fully combined, divide into two equal parts. On a lightly floured surface roll both halves of the dough into 8" squares. Place one of the rolled out crusts into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Put dish in the preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove dish from oven and pour all the filling on top of the bottom crust.

Place the other rolled dough on top of the filling. Poke holes in the crust with a fork to let steam escape while baking.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until crust is a golden brown. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rotisserie Chicken with Mediterranean Vegetables

I served this "salad" the other night and my husband and I thought it was amazing! I used rotisserie chicken- which totally saved on time! And with Thanksgiving coming up, I thought left-over turkey would make a great substitute for the chicken! Serve with a good, crusty bread! Enjoy!

Mustard Vinaigrette:

3 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic cloves, chopped

In a bowl with a cover, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, Dijon mustard, and garlic. Cover and shake to blend. Add the oil and whisk or shake until emulsified.

1 rotisserie chicken (I only use the white breast meat) shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces
6 small red potatoes, quartered
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 red peppers, cut into 1-inch squares
1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1/2 c. drained marinated artichoke hearts, thinly sliced
1 c. haricot verts (French green beans), trimmed, cut into 3 inch lengths (I put these beans in raw, but, if you prefer, roast them on 400F for 5 minutes or so...just until crisp tender)
12 basil leaves, chopped
4 oz. feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 375.

Prepare a large, rimmed baking sheet by lining it with foil and spraying with cooking spray. Combine the potatoes, onion, red peppers, garlic, and salt & pepper to taste and place all on the baking sheet. Toss together with just enough olive oil to coat the vegetables. Roast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken.
Add the artichoke hearts, green beans and basil leaves. Toss with vinaigrette. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Divide vegetable mixture between two plates. Sprinkle each dish with feta cheese. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oatmeal Caramel Bars

My friend, Tammy, gave me this out-of-this-world Martha Stewart cookie bar recipe years has since become one of my most beloved recipes! They always get lots of praise and everyone always asks me for this recipe. So, here it is! Enjoy!

48 soft caramel-candy cubes (1 whole bag does the trick!)
1/2 c heavy cream
2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. packed light brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F

Coat a 9X13" baking pan with cooking spray. Line with a 9X21" sheet of parchment paper, leaving a 2" overhang on each short side (this will help you lift the bars out of the pan once they have baked and cooled). Give the parchment a light spray of cooking spray.

Put the caramels and cream in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a fork or your fingertips (I use my fingers- it's messy, but easier!) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press half the mixture onto the bottom of the lined pan. Bake until just set and starting to color around the edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the baked crust with chocolate chips; drizzle the caramel mixture over the chips and crust and spread until smooth and even. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Use a spatula or your hands (I use my hands, of course- again, it's messy, but easier!) to gently press the crumbs into the caramel. Bake until pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan (I always let it sit for an hour). Use the overhanging parchement to lift the bars from the pan. Cut into squares.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sweet Pea Spread

Okay, I know this sounds completely strange...frozen peas as a dip? But, trust me, it is absolutely delicious! I have served this spread at many a social gathering and it is always a big hit! Please buy the smallest, sweetest bag of frozen peas you can find in the freezer section and make sure you use Pecorino cheese (and not just Parmesan). Pecorino has a strong, nutty flavor that balances well with the peas. Serve this spread with crostini bread and sliced grape tomatoes. Thank you to my friend, Lisa, for this yummy appetizer!

1 bag frozen peas, defrosted (let sit on the counter for about an hour)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
6 mint leaves (optional)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with crackers or bread rounds and sliced grape tomatoes!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Asparagus & Parmesan Puff Pastry

I found this recipe in an old issue of Taste of Home magazine. It makes a delicious accompaniment to a salad or fantastic hor d’ourves! Try these at your next holiday gathering! Enjoy!

1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbl lemon juice
5 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 lb bunch of asparagus, trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise
3 Tbl olive oil
3 Tbl. shredded Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling)

Preheat the oven to 400F

In a small bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and basil.

Unfold the thawed puff pastry onto two baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Cut each sheet into four rectangles, placing them slightly apart on the baking sheets. Spread each rectangle with cream cheese mixture to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Trim asparagus spears to 1 1/2 inches shorter than the pastry. Drizzle with oil.

Bake at 400F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with the 3 Tbl Parmesan cheese. Slice each pastry in half or quarters, depending on how big you want them. Serve warm.