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Fruity Cups

As promised, here is the recipe for the fruit cups from the "Love in Bloom" shower.  They have such pretty color and taste great too.  Perfect for your Mother's Day brunches this weekend.

Fruity Cups

2010 009

1 can peach pie filling

1 can mandarin oranges-drained

1 large can of pineapple chunks-drained

1 large container of frozen, sliced, sweetened strawberries thawed

1 green grapes

2-3 red delicious apples chopped

2-3 bananas chopped

Mix everything together the night before except for the apples and bananas.  Mix those in before serving.  You can also substitute any fruit you like.  
 


Monday Night Dinner

I recently made this delicious soup from Food Network that I just had to share with you.  It's sure to spice up these cold nights.  And of course it's super easy!  Definitely a new staple around our house.

I call it Chicken Tortilla Soup

NY0313_Tortilla-Soup_lg

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced Mexican style tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 (12-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • Sour cream, for topping
  • Monterey Jack, shredded, for topping
  • 2 limes, wedged

Directions

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Saute the onions. Add bell pepper, jalapenos, salt and pepper. Cook until the onions become translucent. Add the cumin and stir until fragrant. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, corn, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro. Add the diced chicken and cook through for about 10 minutes. Season with salt, to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls and divide the crushed tortilla chips between the bowls. Top with sour cream, Monterey jack cheese, cilantro, sliced avocado, and lime wedges.
 


Valentine's Day Dessert

Well believe it or not Valentine's Day is only a month away.  Red velvetcake seems like the perfect dessert to have for the occasion.  Below is a unique red velvet recipe that appears to have more of that yummy cream cheese icing than just a regular slice of cake.  Can't wait to try it!

Red Velvet Trifle

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Yield: Makes 10 servings

  • 1  (18.25-oz.) package DUNCAN HINES Moist Deluxe Red Velvet Cake Mix
  • 2  (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2  cups  low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1  cup  powdered sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  lemon zest
  • 1  pt. fresh raspberries
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare cake batter as directed. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan.

2. Bake at 350° for 28 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

3. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer 1 minute or until creamy. Add yogurt, powdered sugar, and lemon zest. Beat 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Cover and chill.

4. Remove cake from oven. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

5. Invert cake onto a cutting board. Cut rounded top off of cake. Trim and discard edges of cake. Cut cake into 32 pieces.

6. Arrange about one-third of cake pieces in a 3-qt. trifle dish. Carefully spread one-third of chilled cream cheese mixture over cake. Repeat layers 2 times, smoothing top layer of cream cheese mixture over cake pieces. Top with raspberries. Cover and chill 1 hour before serving. Garnish, if desired.


(photo and recipe from myrecipes.com)
 


Snow Day

It is supposed to snow today here in Alabama!  That means the whole state shuts down.  And that means children are out of school.  Before the snow arrives you might be looking for ways to entertain the young ones.  Here are a few to help you out.

Crafts are always a fun way to pass the time.  This snowman craft won't melt away when the other snow does.

Melty the Snowman

Melty-snowman-winter-craft-photo-260-FF0307EFDA01 

Materials
  • White and colored felt
  • Tacky glue
  • White pom-pom
  • Black puffy paint
  • Craft foam (for nose)
  • Twigs (for arms)
Instructions
  1. Cut a puddle shape from white felt and use tacky glue to attach a white pom-pom to the top.

  2. With black puffy paint, add eyes, a mouth, and buttons. Glue on a craft foam nose and twig arms.

  3. Wrap a felt scarf around Melty's neck and glue it in place.

 

Treats are another way to get creative and entertain the kids.  There are several cute snowman recipes on the web.  Here is one of my faves.

Snowman Cups

Snowman_Cups  

2 pkg. (3.9 oz. each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 qt.  (4 cups) cold milk
20 OREO Cookies, crushed (about 2 cups), divided
2 cups  thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
Assorted decorating gels

BEAT pudding mixes and milk with whisk 2 min. Let stand 5 min. Stir in 1 cup cookie crumbs.

SPOON remaining cookie crumbs into 10 (6- to 7-oz.) paper or plastic cups; cover with pudding mixture.

DROP spoonfuls of **COOL WHIP onto desserts to resemble snowmen. Decorate with gels for the eyes, noses and scarves.

**Instead of cool whip, you could also use marshmallows**


You can't have a snow day without everyone's favorite winter beverage: hot chocolate!  Here is a delicious twist on the original.

Hot Caramel Chocolate

Ss_37502  

Ingredients

  • 1/3  cup sugar
  • 1/3  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3  cup water
  • 6  milk-chocolate-covered round caramels
  • 6  cups milk, half-and-half, or light cream
  •   Whipped cream (optional)
  •   Milk chocolate-covered and/or candy-coated round caramels (optional)

Directions

In a large saucepan combine sugar, cocoa powder, and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add candies; cook and stir until melted. Stir in milk. Heat through. Pour into mugs; top with whipped cream and additional caramel candies. Makes 6 servings.

Hope you are keeping warm wherever you are!

  
 


Shimmering Dessert

There will be a lot of champagne flowing over the next few days!  Whether you are toasting on New Year's Eve or sipping Mimosas at your New Year's Day brunch, it's always fun to serve and drink.  

Here is a tasty twist on the traditional Mimosa. 

Mimosa Granita

Granita-ck-226607-l

Yield: 8 cups (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Ingredients

  • 1  cup  sugar
  • 1  cup  water
  • 3  cups  fresh orange juice (about 10 oranges)
  • 2  cups  Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Preparation

Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and cool completely. Add orange juice, Champagne, and lime juice; pour into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Cover and freeze for 8 hours or until firm. Remove mixture from freezer; let stand 10 minutes. Scrape the entire mixture with a fork until fluffy, and garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

I hope everyone has a fabulous New Year's!  Welcome 2010!  

I am taking a short break for vacation but will be back very soon!  See ya next year!


(photo and recipe from myrecipes.com)
 


Reindeer Cupcakes

Well its almost crunch time!  Are you finished with your shopping?  Parties all planned?  That's a no for me on both of those! 

Good news is you've still got time to collect a few more cute ideas and recipes for the holiday.  Here is a really cute one I found for you.

Reindeer Cupcakes

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1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® cake mix (any non-swirl flavor)
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting
Chocolate shot
24 large pretzel twists
24 miniature marshmallows
24 red cinnamon candies
24

small red gumdrops


1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Make and cool cake as directed on box for 24 cupcakes.
2. Frost cupcakes with frosting. Sprinkle chocolate shot over tops of cupcakes.
3.

For each cupcake, cut pretzel twist in half; arrange on cupcake for reindeer antlers. Cut miniature marshmallow in half; arrange on cupcake for eyes. Center gumdrop below marshmallow halves for nose. Place red cinnamon candy below gumdrop for mouth. Store loosely covered.


(photo and recipe from Betty Crocker)


No-Bake Christmas Cookies

Wow your guests with these lovely cherry cookies this Christmas.  Their presentation says "fancy" but their recipe says "easy".

Easy 'Mallow Cookies

L_R135527 

Ingredients

  • 16  maraschino cherries with stems
  • 1/3  cup marshmallow creme
  • 1  tablespoon finely chopped maraschino cherries
  • 32  vanilla wafer cookies
  • 4  ounces vanilla-flavor candy coating

Directions

1. Place maraschino cherries with stems on paper towels; drain well. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together marshmallow creme and chopped maraschino cherries. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the maraschino cherry mixture on the bottom of one cookie. Top with another cookie, bottom side down. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookies and maraschino cherry mixture.

2. In a small saucepan, heat and stir candy coating over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.

3. Dip cookies halfway into the melted candy coating. Return to baking sheet. Holding a cherry by the stem, dip bottom of cherry into the melted candy coating. Place cherry on top of candy-coated side of one cookie. Hold for several seconds or just until set. Repeat with remaining cherries and cookies. Let cookies stand until candy coating sets. Makes 16 sandwich cookies.

TO STORE: Place sandwich cookies in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


(photo and recipe from parents.com)


Mocha Punch

This punch sounds so interesting to me.  What do you think?  I've never tried coffee in a punch!  Great idea for holiday parties.

Peppermint-Mocha_Coffee

Prep Time:
10 min
Total Time:
10 min
Makes:
30 servings, 1/2 cup each
 
Ingredients
 
2 cups cold water
1 cup  MAXWELL HOUSE Instant Coffee, any variety
1/2 gal. (8 cups) coffee, vanilla or chocolate ice cream, softened
1 qt.  (4 cups) milk
1 cup chocolate syrup
1 bottle  (28 fl. oz.) club soda, chilled

STIR water into coffee granules in punch bowl or 1-gal. serving bowl until coffee is dissolved.

ADD remaining ingredients; beat with wire whisk until well blended.

SERVE immediately.


(photo and recipe from kraftfoods.com)


Thanksgiving Potluck

This Friday is our group of friends' Thanksgiving potluck.  The hosts are cooking the turkey and we are bringing side dishes.  After searching for a tasty side dish, I've decided on this one.  It's easy, I can make it the night before and it sounds delish!

Au Gratin Potato Casserole

Gratin-potato-sl-1120169-l

Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1  (32-ounce) package frozen Southern-style hash browns
  • 1  (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 2  cups  (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1  (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1  small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2  cups  crushed cornflakes cereal
  • 1/4  cup  melted butter

Make it

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

Spoon potato mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with crushed cornflakes, and drizzle evenly with butter.

Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Ore-Ida Southern Style Hash Browns.

After reading the reviews, I'm going to add some garlic and swap the cornflakes for Ritz crackers.  I'm also going to swap the cream of mushroom for cream of chicken because some friends don't care for mushrooms.  What casseroles are you cooking up for Thanksgiving?  Send me a link!

(recipe and photo from myrecipes.com)
 


White Hot Chocolate

How do you feel about white chocolate?  A lot of people I know are not huge fans.  I happen to LOVE it!  I will definitely be trying this recipe for white hot chocolate.  What a great twist on the traditional.

White Hot Chocolate

Ss_12759271

Ingredients

  • 3  cups half-and-half or light cream*
  • 3/4  cup vanilla-flavor baking pieces or vanilla-flavor candy coating, chopped
  •   3 inches stick cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4  teaspoon almond extract
  •   Slivers of vanilla-flavor candy coating (optional)
  •   Ground cinnamon (optional)

Directions

1. Combine 1/4 cup of the half-and-half or light cream, vanilla baking pieces or chopped candy coating, stick cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan; whisk over low heat until vanilla baking pieces or candy is melted. Remove stick cinnamon.

2. Add remaining half-and-half or light cream. Whisk until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and almond extract. Serve warm in cups or mugs; top with slivers of vanilla-flavor candy coating and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Makes 5 (6-ounce) servings.

*Note: To reduce fat, you may substitute low-fat milk or evaporated fat-free milk for the half-and-half.

Tip: To create the foamy layer on top, blend some of the hot chocolate mixture in a blender container until frothy, and add to each serving.

(photo and recipe from bhg.com)