Monday, December 19, 2011

Thick, Soft Christmas Cookies

These cookies are so delicious!  My mom made these almost every Christmas for our family.  I still have fond memories of helping her roll out the dough, cut out shapes and sneaking pieces of excess dough (it's so yummy!).  I decided to make these for my first time for a Christmas party we went to at our friends'.  The original recipe makes about 9 dozen, so I thought maybe to do 3/4 of the recipe.  And then I ended up with like, 100 cookies.  It probably was because my cookie cutters weren't very big.  But, no matter!  Our friends will just enjoy a bunch of cookies for Christmas.

The frosting was always my favorite part, because my mom did several different flavors and colors.  Usually green peppermint trees, red cherry or strawberry bells, yellow lemon stars, etc.  For the party, I did: green peppermint trees, red cherry candy canes, yellow lemon stars, blue/purple/white almond snowflakes!

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. Crisco
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
6 c. flour

1. Mix ingredients in order.  Make sure the batter is light and fluffy before adding the flour.  Also, use the whisk attachment for the ingredients before the flour, then switch to the paddle attachment.  It makes it much easier.
2.  Let dough chill in the fridge for awhile, up to an hour.
3.  On a floured surface, roll out the dough.  Cut with cookie cookies.  Place on cookie sheets (air-cushioned ones are amazing) lined with parchment paper (the best baking tool ever).
4.  Bake at 325-degrees for 8 minutes.  Let cool on pan a few minutes before using a spatula to move to cooling racks.

2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 Tbl. milk
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract (or other flavors)
4 - 5 drops green food coloring (or other colors)

[to do 4 different colors, do about 1/2 c. sugar, 2 Tbl. melted butter, 1/2 Tbl. milk, 1/8 tsp. extract, and 2 drops food coloring]

1.  Blend powdered sugar and butter.
2.  Add other ingredients to taste and color preference.  Also, you will probably need to add a bit of milk every now and then to keep the frosting spreadable.

ready to start frosting!


double yum!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I got this recipe from  I don't know where the idea to make cinnamon rolls came from, but I decided it'd be nice to do when Kenny & Delaney were here.  This recipe was delicious and pretty simple to do.  Next time we have company stay with us, I'll probably make them again.  But we don't need a whole pan of these in the fridge, they will get eaten much too quickly!

1 c. milk
1/3 c. butter
1 (.25 oz.) package active dry yeast
1/2 c. sugar
4 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs

3/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbl. cinnamon
1/2 c. raisins (optional, I didn't include them)

1 tsp. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbl. half & half

1.  Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles; remove from heat.  Add the butter and stir until melted; let cool until lukewarm.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in the milk mixture.  Add sugar, 3 c. of flour, salt and egg.  Stir well to combine.  Add the remaining flour, 1/2 c. at a time, stirring well after each addition.
3.  When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and supple, about 8 mins.
4.  Lightly oil a larger bowl and place dough in it; coat with oil.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
5.  Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10"x14" rectangle.  Lightly brush the far edge with water.
6.  In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and brown sugar and sprinkle over the rectangle evenly.  The sprinkle raisins, if using.  Roll up the dough into a log and seal the seam.
7.  Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces; place in a greased 9"x13" pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rise overnight.
8.  The next morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Let the rolls stand at room temperature for 30 mins. before baking.
9.  Once at room temperature, bake for 25 - 30 mins., or until golden.  Meanwhile, combine corn syrup with vanilla in a small bowl.  Whisk in the powdered sugar and enough cream to make a thick glaze.  Drizzle glaze over the rolls and serve warm.

before going in the fridge at night

big rolls the next morning

out of the oven, yum!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apple Pie

Since we had a ton of apples, I figured we needed to have an apple pie!  I used the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens book and it turned out pretty much perfect!

Pastry for Double-Crust Pie
2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2/3 c. shortening
8 - 10 Tbl. cold water

1.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea size.
2.  Sprinkle 1 Tbl. of water over part of the flour mixture; toss with a fork.  Push moistened pastry to side of bowl.  Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 Tbl. of the water at a time, until flour mixture is moistened.  Divide pastry in half, form into balls.
3.  On lightly floured surface, use hands to slightly flatten one pastry ball.  Roll it from center to edges into a 12 inch circle.
4.  Wrap pastry circle around rolling pin; unroll it into a 9 inch pie plate.  Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it.  Trim pastry even with rim; transfer filling to pie plate.
5.  Roll remaining ball into another 12 inch circle, place on top of filling.  Cut slits in pastry and trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate.  Fold top pastry under bottom pastry and crimp edges as desired.

Apple Pie
1 recipe Pastry for Double-Crust pie
6 c. thinly sliced, peeled cooking apples (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1 Tbl. lemon juice
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbl. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. dried cranberries (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare and roll out Pastry for Double-Crust Pie.  Line a 9 inch pie plate with a pastry circle.
2.  If desired, sprinkle apples with lemon juice.  In a large bowl, stir together: flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (I added a little vanilla as well).  Add apples slices and, if desired, cranberries.  Gently toss until coated.
3.  Transfer mixture to pastry-lined pie plate.  Trim bottom pastry to edge of pie plate.  Place remaining pastry on top, cut slits in the top.  Crimp edges as desired.
4.  If desired, brush top pastry with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar.  To prevent over-browning, cover edge of pie with foil.
5.  Bake for 40 minutes; remove foil.  Bake 20 minutes more or until fruit is tender and filling is bubbly.  Cool on a wire rack.  To serve warm, let pie cool at least 2 hours.

delicious apples!

this is the best I could do, haha

so yummy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Chicken in Lemon-Cream Sauce

My mom sent me this recipe and I made this last night and it is so yummy!  It was hard to leave leftovers!  It's a very simple, easy recipe and went great with some mashed potatoes and corn.  Wonderful!

a few Tbl. butter
8 chicken breast halves, or tenders
2 Tbl. dry white wine or water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. (white) pepper
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 Tbl. lemon juice
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 c. sliced mushrooms (we don't love mushrooms, so I excluded them)

1.  Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, add chicken.  Cook, about 10 minutes, or until browned and tender.  Remove and place in overproof serving dish; discard butter from skillet.
2.  Add wine (or water), lemon peel and lemon juice to skillet; cook and stir over medium heat about 1 min.  Stir in salt and pepper.
3.  Gradually pour in cream, stirring constantly.  Stir until hot, do not boil!  Pour cream sauce over chicken, sprinkle with cheese and mushrooms.  Broil about 6 inches from heat source until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. 

No pictures, sorry!

Ravioli Soup

I love this recipe.  I used to ask my mom for it all the time for my birthday.  It's perfect with grated parmesan cheese and a few slices of french bread, yum!  I made the entire recipe when we had friends over, and everyone loved it.

2 (10 oz.) cans Campbell's beef broth bouillon
2 c. canned tomato juice
6 c. water
1 1/2 c. chopped carrots (in half circles)
1/2 c. chopped green onion
1 1/2 c. peeled, diced potato (can use a little extra, I love the potato in this)
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach
about 48 - 60 frozen meat ravioli, cooked (for those in the Bay Area, my mom uses the local Genova brand)
2 (8 oz. each) containers of ravioli sauce (tomato, garlic, herbs)

1.  Combine bouillon, tomato juice and water in a large pot.
2.  Bring to a boil and add: carrot, potato, onion, parsley, salt, sugar and pepper. Cover and simmer until veggies are tender.
3.  Add the spinach and gently stir in the ravioli (which has already  been cooked) and the sauce.  Heat about 10 minutes.
4.  Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled over top, if desired.

not a great picture, but it is delicious!

Apple Cream Cheese Danish

We have all these apples from our apple picking trip and I was aching to make some delicious pastry.  Then I found this recipe and went for it.  It was a bit more tricky than I imagined, because I had bought a box of two big puff pastry sheets, and they didn't roll out as well as I had hoped.  So I just kind of winged it, and with the leftover filling made blintzes, yum!  Zak devoured these, and I did my best not to eat them all in one day.  But they are certainly tasty!

24 oz. cottage cheese
3 apples (peeled, cored & thinly sliced)
1 tsp. lemon juice
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
17 1/2 oz. puff pastry, thawed
3 Tbl. sugar (decoration)

1.  Place cottage cheese in a strainer lined with cheesecloth or heavy paper towel; pat dry and set aside.
2.  Place apples in a bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning.
3.  Combine cream cheese, drained cream cheese, 1/2 c. sugar, egg, vanilla in a bowl.  Mix with electric mixer for 1 - 2 minutes on medium high, until almost smooth.
4.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5.  Cut each of the puff pastry sheets into 9 pieces, to have 18 total (make sure they are relatively square-shaped).  Roll pieces out, one by one, to make about 5 x 5 inch squares.  Avoid rolling with too much pressure or over the edges, to ensure they puff up.
6.  Place a square in front of you (so it's diamond-shaped).  Spoon a generous of cheese filling, leaving some room at the top and bottom edges.  Fan out 3 - 5 apple slices in the center.  Bring the left and right corners together to meet in the center and pinch to seal.
7.  Transfer danish to baking sheet; repeat with remaining pastries.  Sprinkle sugar over each bundle and bake until pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

mine didn't turn out super pretty, but they sure were tasty, warm or room temperature!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Zucchini Monterey

This is a family favorite, and one of my personal favorites.  I made it for Zak's birthday with the pork recipe I just posted.  Zak isn't a huge fan of zucchini, so I figured this would be a decent way to maybe get him to like it.  He didn't love or hate it, but he is a little bit more open to the idea now!  This is a great side dish and pretty simple to make, once you get it through your head that it's not too difficult.  

I made 4 zucchini and kind of eye-balled the ingredients.  The most important things are: cooking the zucchini long enough so that it's not crunchy or too soft, and, while you're cooking the vegetables, add in salt and pepper until it tastes good.  But here is the recipe, enjoy!  

6 zucchini
3 Tbl. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. chopped green onion
(1/4 c. white onion, optional)
salt & pepper
3/4 - 1 c. monterey jack cheese

1.  Cut a V down each zucchini, roughly a quarter of it.  Chop up.
2.  Boil rest of zucchini about 5 minutes, until they're not crunchy, but not falling apart.  They'll turn a little opaque in color.
3.  Meanwhile, sauté in butter: zucchini, green onion, garlic and, if wanted, white onion.  Season to taste.
4.  Drain zucchini, and scoop out a channel in each; add the pulp to the sautéed mixture.  
5.  Stir in 1/2 c. - 3/4 c. cheese -- however much you want.
6.  Spoon into zucchini shells, place in baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
7.  Bake covered (or uncovered, until cheese is slightly browned) at 375 degrees about 20 minutes.

all done!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Peach Sauce

We saw this on an episode of America's Test Kitchen a few weeks ago, and I was trying to get a clear answer from Zak about what he wanted for his birthday dinner.  As we salivated over this pork, he said, 'I want that.'  And so I went off, searching for the recipe on-line.  I found it on a site for grandparents, so go figure.  It was a simply enough recipe, I just fretted about finding someone I knew with a roasting pan (success), and making the sauce.  I wanted it to be more of a thicker, glaze-type sauce, but it didn't turn out to be that way.  And we couldn't remember how it looked like on the show, so whatever.  It still tasted good--everything was sublime, and we have a lot of delicious leftovers we are excited about!  The pork was salty in a good way, and the sauce really helped balance that.  It was an excellent birthday dinner, I rounded it out with some mashed potatoes and zucchini monterey.  Great birthday dinner!

Pork shoulder
1 bone-in pork shoulder/butt, 6 - 8 pounds
1/3 c. salt
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
black pepper

Peach sauce
10 oz. frozen peaches, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups) or 2 fresh peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. + 1 Tbl. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbl. whole-grain mustard

1.  Using sharp knife, cut slits 1 inch apart in crosshatch pattern in fat cap of roast, being careful not to cut into meat.  Combine salt and brown sugar, rub over entire pork shoulder and into slits.  Wrap roast tightly in double layer or plastic wrap, place on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
2.  Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat to 325 degrees.  Unwrap roast and brush off any excess salt mixture.  Season with pepper, transfer to V-rack, coated with nonstick cooking spray and set in large roasting pan.  Add 1 quart water.
3.  Cook roast, basting twice during cooking (and add water as needed), until meat is extremely tender and thermometer inserted registers 190 degrees, about 5 - 6 hours (it was ready in 5).
4.  Transfer roast to carving board and let rest, loosely tented with foil for 1 hour.  Transfer liquid in roasting pan to fat separator and let stand 5 minutes.  Pour off 1/4 c. jus; discard fat and reserve or discard remaining jus.
5.  Bring peaches, wine, sugar, 1/4 c. vinegar, 1/4 c. defatted jus and thyme to simmer in small saucepan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups--about 30 minutes.
6.  Remove thyme, stir in remaining tablespoon vinegar and mustard, and keep warm.
7.  Using sharp paring knife, cut around inverted T-shaped bone until it can be pulled free from roast.  Serve, with sauce.

before cooking, it had marinaded for 24 hours at this point

all done, and smelling delicious!

it was so tender, the meat just fell off nicely
peach sauce

a really, really good meal

Peach Cake

I made this cake for Zak's birthday this year, and it turned out really well!  I was a bit nervous, since it was a new recipe and didn't know what to expect, but everyone seemed to really like it!  I got the recipe from this site, and made it on Saturday for the party Sunday.  My only complaint is that, with the brown sugar/cinnamon sugar combo on top, it didn't look really pretty/edible because it was brown.  So to cover that up, I put some fresh peach slices that I let sit in some sugar and vanilla for a few hours on the top and it made it look much nicer!

3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
2/3 c. milk
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 fresh peaches, peeled and cut into slices (I used 5, since we had so many)

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

4 (? I don't know how many I used) peaches, peeled and sliced -- let sit in mixture of sugar and vanilla  (optional, do after cake has cooled)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease (or line with parchment paper) 12 - inch spring form pan.
2.  Beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs one at a time.
3.  In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
4.  Add vanilla in with the milk.
5.  Alternately add dry ingredients with milk and vanilla.  When mixed well, gently fold in peaches.
6.  Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle together with topping.
7.  Bake 50 - 60 minutes.
8.  Let cool 10 minutes in pan before removing spring form collar.  Cool completely before serving.

before adding topping and baking

all cooled, you can see why I wanted to add peaches on top, right?


kind of caught him off guard, but look how nice the cake looks!

it was very moist and soft inside-I was a bit worried I didn't cook it as long as I should've, but everyone really enjoyed it, so whatever!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Refrigerator Pickles

We got about a dozen + cucumbers from Zak's grandparents with the purpose of pickling them at home. I tried to find a few recipes that would be easy enough, and this one was the winner. I would definitely recommend at least doubling the spice mixture, because we found that it only filled about 2 and a half jars. But it might be because we were unsure of how much the cucumbers would shrink, and we did five jars when we could've stuffed four and been fine. Anyways, having the extra spice mixture was better in the long run, because we poured it over some freshly sliced cucumbers and ate them after a few minutes (when we were in Seattle, we went to a Thai place where they had fresh pickles and thought it'd be easy enough to do, ours tastes almost like the restaurants'!).

A few days later, we decided to try this recipe with spear-cut cucumbers and no onions, and they turned out really well. We also played around with adding garlic to one jar, minced garlic to the spice mixture, and everything turned out really great. We have about 9 jars of pickles in the fridge now, so come over and eat some with us!

6 c. cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 c. onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. white vinegar
*4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced - optional*
4 - 6 pint jars, washed, boiled, etc.

1. Layer the cucumbers and onions in a glass container.
2. Mix the spices, sugar and vinegar together in a saucepan, heat until sugar as melted.
3. Pour over the cucumbers and onions.
4. Cover tightly and let sit in the fridge for about 48 hours before serving.

Zak did a great job with the cucumbers!

Zak was so cute, he wanted to do 'experiments' with the layering, etc. The first one: 50/50 (cukes, onions), 2nd: more onions, 3rd: more cucumbers, 4: added in garlic, 5: stuffed it really full. You can tell we were unsure of how much to put in the jars.

yum yum yum!

Apricot Jam

As I mentioned in the other blog, we got a bunch of apricots from Zak's grandparents. We both like apricots, but decided apricot jam would be superior. I haven't really made jam on my own before, and I was nervous about doing it without my mom or grandma helping me. So I searched on-line for recipes that seemed simple enough and wouldn't require me buying / using a bunch of canning gear. I found this one on It was so easy and didn't take too long. I just wished there had been a few more basic directions, because I was a bit unsure about how small to dice the apricots, or how thick the mixture would be before pulling it off the stove, just stuff like that. And the recipe said I would get 5 pint jars out of it; I only got 4 jars, which was a bit of a bummer. But it tastes amazing! It's a bit thick, but that's ok with me. It's yummy and we have three jars in the freezer!

8 c. diced apricots
1/4 c. lemon juice
6 c. sugar
4 or 5 pint jars or 8 - 10 half-pint jars

1. Sterilize jars and lids by boiling in water for 10 minutes.
2. Once timer is up, turn off stove, put lid on pot to keep jars warm. Once jam is near done, transfer jars and lids to towels to dry.
3. Combine all ingredients in a large pot.
4. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.
5. Once mixture reaches a modest, rolling boil, continue boiling for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent from sticking.
6. Remove from heat and fill jars, leaving some head space.
7. Let jars sit and cool for awhile before transferring to fridge or freezer.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Won Ton Skins Salad

This is one of my absolute favorite meals. I request it every time I go home, because I don't have a deep fryer to fry the won ton skins. We even had it at our reception, and it was a hit. I was talking to my mom awhile ago about maybe having this when we were home for Kenny's homecoming, and she told me they've tried something new with the salad: instead of getting out the deep fryer and frying up the won ton skins (a big task in it of itself), she's replaced the won tons with crispy chow mein noodles and won ton skin salad toppers. I was a bit hesitant at first, but we had it in CA and I was convinced it was delicious, a decent replacement, and that I could make the salad myself now!

So yesterday I decided to go for it, and it was pretty much perfect, and just what I wanted. The only problem is, I ate two huge bowls, and probably could've gone for a third. It is so yummy and easy to eat. And it's even delicious the next day (some family members argue it's the best the next day, I prefer it the first day, because I love the crispy won tons, but I will eat it any way possible).

The following recipe is what is in our family cookbook. This easily makes 8 bowls' worth, and was plenty for us (and leftovers, yay!). So there are 'measurements' for some of the ingredients, but you can add or subtract amounts of most anything for this. I toned down the almonds, because I tried toasting them on the stove and ended up burning the majority of them. And I really like the mandarin oranges, so I might add some more next time. Anyways, this salad is the best and I will eat it all summer long!

~2 c. cooked chicken (I probably used 12 - 16 oz, didn't measure, just did it)
1 head lettuce (or romaine, or a mix of iceberg, romaine, green leaf)
4 green onions
1/2 c. - 1 c. crispy chow mein noodles (eyeball it)
1 small bag won ton skins salad toppers (found near croutons and salad ingredients in Safeway)
4 Tbl. slivered almonds (can be toasted for optional/optimum flavor)
2 Tbl. sesame seeds (same goes)
1 can mandarin oranges

1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, cook and set aside.
2. Tear/cut lettuce, slice green onions and toss.
3. Add rest of ingredients, dressing and toss.
4. It's often best when it's chilled a little, so if you can resist, chill salad at least 20 minutes before serving.

Dressing (mix all ingredients, make ahead of time and chill well)
2 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. oil
1/2 - 1 tsp. accent seasoning (optional)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbl. unseasoned rice vinegar

Posted by Picasa

Crescent Napoleons with Strawberries

I somehow found this recipe and showed Zak yesterday morning. His response, over & over again, "Make that tonight, make that tonight," until I finally agreed. I'm not trying to be snobby, but I don't normally go for recipes where you use pre-made mixes or whatever; it's just that I grew up having really delicious, from-scratch cakes and desserts. But this looked easy and delicious enough, so I figured why not?

I did have few little hiccups with it, however. Well, for starters, I was too busy paying attention to the prices of vanilla pudding instead of reading if it was actually instant or cooked pudding on the box. So I ended up with 2 boxes of cooked vanilla pudding instead of 1 box instant. And I figured that out, after whisking and whisking and then finding the box and realizing my mistake. But I just threw it in a saucepan and cooked it over medium heat until it bubbled and thickened up. I had to let it cool for awhile, which was disappointing, because we were so excited to try them. The other hiccup was that we didn't beat the whipped cream stiff enough, so when I added the whipped cream to the pudding, it didn't mix in well, and was very runny. I decided to put it in the fridge to thicken up. Another agonizing twenty minutes went by, but it had done just what I wanted.

Assembling these wasn't too difficult; I had a fair amount of leftover pudding, but it was difficult not to put a lot on the wafer, because it'd squish out everywhere. But I got it done, they looked pretty decent and were divine! Zak called them, 'everything a strawberry shortcake should be', and I envisioned myself making these many times in our future, because they are simple and delicious. Maybe I'll make some kind of fancy cake with them. Zak didn't even want to think about sharing these with our friends (I normally give away about 75% of the cookies and treats I make, just so we aren't too tempted). They are that yummy!

1 can (8 oz.) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 c. milk
1 box (small, 4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding/pie filling mix
1 c. whipped topping or whipped cream
1 1/2 c. sliced strawberries

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Unroll roll dough, separate into 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal.
3. Cut each rectangle into quarters, place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press each rectangle to form 3x2" rectangles. Sprinkle each with sugar.
4. Bake 8 - 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on cooling rack until completely cool, about 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat milk and pudding mix with wire whisk until mixture begins to thicken. Fold in the whipped topping/whipped cream.
6. Just before serving, place 8 baked dough rectangles on serving platter or tray. Reserve 1/2 c. pudding mixture. Divide remaining mixture onto rectangles and spread to edges.
7. Reserve at least 8 pretty strawberry slices for garnish. Divide remaining strawberries onto rectangles.
8. I had enough remaining pudding mixture that I put some on the bottom of the remaining dough rectangles to 'cement' the two crescent wafers together.
9. Garnish tops with about 1 Tbl. reserved pudding mixture and 1 strawberry slice. Store in refrigerator and/or enjoy!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Katsu Chicken

This recipe was wonderful! I got it from, who in turn, I guess got it from the L&L Hawaiian Barbeque Grill chain. Ever since we've been to our local Hawaiian place, I've been curious about making some of the dishes. We know that my macaroni salad recipe beats theirs, and my mom's teriyaki marinade / sauce is awesome, but I was curious about making chicken katsu (sort of life a fried chicken cutlet with a sweet barbeque sauce).
So I searched and searched for a recipe that looked like what I knew chicken katsu to be. The only problem was the recipe was for 5 - 7 servings, using 4 lbs. of chicken. So I had to be creative with my measuring. What I'm listing below isn't 100% what I used to make it, but what will probably be a pretty accurate measurement for 1 lb. of chicken. Now, for the sauce, I only halved the recipe I had, and it made 4 cups' worth. And we maybe used...half a cup, total. What I'm posting below will be half of what I used, so hopefully it will make about 2 cups.

All in all, this was a wonderful, delicious meal; and much easier than I thought! Since we have so much leftover sauce, I will be making again really soon (darn!). Enjoy this with mac salad, rice and corn for a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch!

1 lb. chicken (the recipe called for thighs, but we only had breasts, and they worked fine)
1 1/2 - 2 c. Japanese panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. white pepper

1. Pound chicken with a rolling pin.
2. Combine egg, water, cornstarch and spices to make a batter.
3. Coat chicken in egg mixture, then roll in panko crumbs, being sure to cover entire piece.
4. Fry in oil until golden brown and crispy (I used our biggest pan, with several tablespoons of oil, it worked just fine).

Katsu Sauce:
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 dash Tabasco sauce (didn't use this, since we didn't have it, but it was fine without it)
cornstarch mixed with water (thickener)

1. Combine all ingredients (except cornstarch mixed with water) and bring to a boil.
2. Add the cornstarch that has been mixed in with the water and stir until thick.
3. Serve on top of chicken and rice!

all breaded and ready for frying

delicious, delicious sauce

fry them for about 2 -3 minutes on one side

until they are perfectly golden brown

and enjoy with all the essentials: rice, corn, mac salad!
Posted by Picasa

Macaroni & Cheese (Kraft Knockoff)

I will admit that I kind of love Kraft mac & cheese (the best is the 3 cheese shells, ohh). Sometimes you just need some comfort food and it hits the spot. The other day while Zak was at work, I had a craving for it, but seeing as how I was stranded at home and it was cold and rainy outside, I opted not to walk to the store to get a box of it. So I looked online and found a good 'taste-a-like' of it. It was super easy, and pretty tasty!

2 quarts water
1 Tbl. salt
2 c. uncooked elbow (or shell, whatever) macaroni
2 Tbl. butter
1/2 lb. cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. flour
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. ham, chopped into 1/4 inc. cubes (I didn't have ham when I made this, so I opted it out, but I'm sure it's good in it)
black pepper
onion salt

1. In a medium bowl, mix corn starch in with cheese, so that it's coated (this helps cheese from getting too stringy).
2. Bring water and salt to a boil, add pasta and cook 7 or so minutes, drain when finished.
3. While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce by melting butter in a large saucepan on medium heat.
4. Whisk in the flour; slowly dribble in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth.
5. Slowly add in the cheese and whisk until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice.
6. Add in the cooked, drained macaroni and ham. Sprinkle in pepper and onion salt.

Posted by Picasa

Banana Custard Pudding

So we had some bananas that were getting on the old side. I didn't feel up to making banana bread, especially since we had about a dozen blueberry muffins lying around the house. Then I somehow got the idea for banana pudding, because who doesn't like pudding? And I've made pudding before, so I figured it wouldn't be too difficult. This recipe was only challenging because I wasn't paying enough faithful attention to it, while on the stove. So the texture wasn't what I wanted, but overall, it was pretty tasty. I would definitely cut the sugar amount by at least a quarter or more, because it was super sweet. The original recipe called for basically making a vanilla custard, then adding in sliced banana pieces before serving. We decided to mush and whisk up the bananas with some milk and add it in with the vanilla. Next time, we will blend them up. But, still, yummy!

1/2 c. sugar (like I said, I bet it'd be fine with anywhere from 1/3 c. - 1/4 c.)
1 Tbl. cornstarch
dash of salt
1 1/2 c. milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 bananas, mushed/blended with a little bit of milk

1. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan.
2. Over medium heat, slowly add milk, stirring until mixture comes to a boil, keeping a close eye on it!
3. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Temper egg yolks by adding a small amount of hot liquid to them, then return all to the saucepan.
5. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
6. Stir in vanilla and bananas, then chill for 1 hour..

Sorry there are no pictures, it wasn't as pretty as I wanted! Maybe next time I make it!

Blueberry Muffins

Zak and I love blueberry muffins, so naturally, when I got a big box of them last week, decided to make some. I looked around for awhile for a healthier version, and finally stumbled across the one I tried out. They were delicious, moist and will be made again soon. Plus, they are under 100 calories for each muffin, not bad at all!

1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 c. low fat buttermilk
1 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 c. fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees; lightly coat muffin pan with cooking spray, or place baking cups in pan.
2. Mix together 1 1/2 c. flour, sugar, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
3. Whisk together buttermilk, applesauce, egg, oil and vanilla in a medium bowl.
4. Lightly coat the blueberries by tossing them with the 1/4 c. flour in a small bowl.
5. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until batter is just moistened. Fold in the blueberries.
6. Divide the mixture evenly among muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes.

This recipe made 24 beautiful, similar-sized muffins.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nutella Cookies

My family told me they had this recipe for Nutella cookies awhile ago. At first, I was a bit hesitant, because I was unsure of how Nutella would translate in cookie form. They even sent some cookies up when my sister came to visit. I wasn't crazy about them; they tasted more like chocolate in my opinion. But I reasoned that maybe I would like them better if they were super fresh, right from the oven. Then I realized that my parents had given us 2 two-packs of big jars of Nutella, and we had barely gone through one in the past year. So I decided to make these cookies; I had Nutella to spare! This was a classic example of mistaking first impressions, because these cookies were amazing. And they tasted like Nutella, which is what I wanted. They are just yummy; Zak had more than he should've yesterday when I brought some to his work. However, this recipe makes a lot of cookies; probably about 4 dozen. I had a friend over and made her take a ton of them; I gave away at least a dozen, and frozen a fair amount of them as well. But it's worth it, Nutella cookies = brilliant. Enjoy these with a cold glass of milk, mmm.

2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed dark brown sugar (we used light, and they were just fine)
1 c. white sugar
26 oz. Nutella (one large jar)
1 c. chopped hazelnuts (did not use this time [my dad's not a nut person, so I'm always hesitant about putting them in cookies, etc.], but I think they'd be great with them!)
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. In mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy.
3. Mix in Nutella (do not heat it in order to make it easier; it takes some time and it is messy, but heating it will ruin everything (not from experience, just know that)), beat until all incorporated.
4. Add in chopped hazelnuts if you're going that route, then eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Mix well.
5. Add in flour slowly and/or in three stages, making sure after every addition that it's mixed in well.
6. Chill dough while oven preheats to 350 degrees. Scoop dough into balls and cook for about 10 minutes.

we had enough leftover dough for about 4 cookies, so instead, we just made a giant one