Thursday, December 31, 2009

Swedish Coconut Cookies

Swedish Coconut Cookies are a Scandinavian treat! I absolutely love the sweet, buttery, and crumbly texture of these cookies. This cookie is type of shortbread cookie with a high proportion of butter to flour and sugar. The dough can often appear very dry. If it’s too dry to form the dough, you can add a bit of soft butter, one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Swedish Coconut Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Scant teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut

Cream the butter, shortening, and sugar together. 

 Add the remaining ingredients. 

Mix well and roll into 1 inch balls. Place balls on a cookie sheet and flatten with a glass or fork dipped in sugar. 

Baking until light brown – roughly 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes 5 dozen.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Herbed Monkey Bread

This is a Paula Deen recipe that my mother recently prepared.  Paula Deen is the queen of butter and in my opinion, there was a bit too much butter and I might not add the last 1/4 cup next time I make this.  I didn't own a Bundt pan before - but this recipe convinced me that I needed one.  I also plan to serve this with marinara sauce next time.

Herbed Monkey Bread

1 stick butter melted, plus 1/4 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 packages biscuits (Grands Buttermilk Buiscuits work best!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 12-cup Bundt pan; set aside.  In a small bowl, combine cheese and Italian seasoning.  Roll each individual biscuit into a ball. Dip each piece in the 1 stick of melted butter, then coat with the cheese mixture. Place dough into prepared pan; overlapping will occur. Bake bread, 30 to 35 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning, if needed.

Let cool in pan, 10 minutes; invert bread onto a serving plate. Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup melted butter on top and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Oro Verde Spinach Dip

I've made this dip a hundred times and it is one of my favorite appetizers. The flavors are delicious and the consistency is cheesy and creamy! Yum!

Oro Verde Spinach Dip

1 can chopped green chilies
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoon cilantro (dried or fresh - if you use fresh - do about 4 tsp)
1 10 oz. package chopped frozen spinach thawed and drained
1 8 oz. cream cheese
2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese
1/3 cup half and half (or milk)

Thaw and drain spinach. Squeeze it tightly to remove all liquid. Mix all ingredients together in a casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes till hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Bring Back "Planter's Cheez Balls" Petition

Bring Back "Planter's Cheez Balls" Petition

Brown Sugar Smokies

My mom made this recipe recently and it was a crowd pleaser.  They were so easy to make, yet absolutely sinful!  You can bake these with or without toothpicks in them - as long as you place them seam side down on the pan, you won't need them.

Brown Sugar Smokies

1 package (16-ounce size) little smokie sausages
1 pound bacon
1 cup brown sugar, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut bacon into thirds and wrap each strip around a little sausage. Place the wrapped sausages seam side down on a baking dish.  Sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar. Bake until bacon is crisp and the brown sugar melted – roughly 30 minutes.  Serve with toothpicks.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beef and Broccoli Wellington

This recipe is a family favorite! It’s incredibly mild in taste – some might even say bland, but how can you go wrong with ground beef, cheese, and broccoli all wrapped up in crescent dough?

During my last trip to the market I noticed that Pillsbury is selling flat crescent roll dough they call Seamless Dough Roll – in other words, without the perforations. Now you no longer have to roll out the dough and seal the perforations. If you can’t find this dough at your local market – the crescent rolls work great, just remember to flatten out the dough with a rolling pin.

After making this recipe so many hundreds of times, I’ve managed to find an even easier way to prepare this meal and avoid having the dough become soggy under the weight of the beef and broccoli.

First, I love to prepare as many of my meals ahead of time as possible. When I get home from work, I want to be able to just pop something into the oven. I’ve discovered that I can prepare the filling for the wellington ahead of time, freeze it in the proper portions, and then thaw it during the day while I’m at work. This is great if I want to make more than one batch at a time. Typically, I’ll quadruple the recipe and then divide the mixture into four parts. I’ll put each part in a Tupperware and freeze for up to a few months. If you do this, make sure that you thoroughly drain the mixture of too much moisture that has developed during the freezing process. Many times I will actually that the mixture in a colander over the sink. With your hands, press the mixture against the colander to be sure you removed any extra liquid. Simply roll out your dough and place the mixture on top!
Secondly, as mentioned before, the mixture contains a lot of moisture so be sure to drain as much liquid from it as possible. This will ensure that your dough stays dry.

*This recipe can always be prepared ahead of time and baked later.  See the last photos!

Beef and Broccoli Wellington

l lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (9 oz.) package of frozen cut broccoli, thawed, drained
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 oz (1 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (8 oz each) Crescent roll dough or seamless dough sheet
1 egg beaten
Poppy seeds, if desired

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.
In skillet, brown ground beef and onion over medium heat. Drain well.

Add broccoli, sour cream, salt and pepper; mix well. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cheese; mix well.

Unroll 1 can of dough to form 1 large rectangle. Press seams together. Spoon the beef mixture down center of dough to 1/4" of each end. Unroll the second can of dough and place this over the mixture. Pinch and seal edges. Brush rectangle with beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seed if desired.

Bake at 375°F* for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown (usually longer).

Serves 4-6 people.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mexican Chicken

One of my favorite recipes came from a family friend, Anne Headlund.  My mother used to make this for our family when I was younger and I always looked forward to it.  The recipe is simple to follow, although shredding the chicken can be annoying – especially if you’re doubling or tripling the recipe.  If I take the time to make Mexican Chicken I almost always at least double the recipe.  It freezes fantastically and I pass around tuperwares to friends. 

The last few times I’ve prepared this recipe I’ve cheated and actually added my poached chicken to a food processor.  This certainly cut down the preparation time and the soup was much thicker.  If fact, it was so thick that I used it once as a burrito filling and once over steamed rice.  I would recommend shredding the chicken by hand the first time – and if you desire a thicker consistency, use the food processor.

I always have extra cans of tomato sauce in my panty, but if you don’t – you may want to consider purchasing an extra can just in case your soup becomes too dry and thick.  I almost always end up using at least 4 cans of tomato sauce.  It doesn’t hurt to have an extra one on hand.

Mexican Chicken

4 lbs. cooked chicken breasts and thighs shredded (poach in water until done)
1 Cup Chicken broth
10 oz. grated Longhorn cheese
2 Onions - chopped
2 Cloves garlic - chopped
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 teaspoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon Basil
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
2 -   4 oz. cans chopped green chilies
2-3 -   15 oz. cans tomato sauce

Sour Cream (optional)
Cheese (optional)

Add all ingredients to a large pot, bring to a small boil and simmer at least 1 hour.  Serve with sour cream and cheese.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cheese Plate

I'm attending a White Elephant Christmas Party this evening, and thought instead of a side dish, I'd bring an appetizer. I didn't feel like cooking anything this afternoon, so I visited the market and purchased a variety of cheeses. I'm serving them with three types of crackers and sliced apples.

What's your favorite kind of cheese?

Corn Chowder

This is my mom's corn chowder recipe and is perfect on a cold fall evening. The recipe is easy to follow, just be careful that the bottom of your pot doesn't burn or your chowder will have a terrible charred taste.

Corn Chowder

½ pound bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
½ cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons flour
4 Cups milk
1 can (1 lb. 1 oz) cream style corn
1 can (1 lb. 1 oz) corn
2 cans (1 lb.) tiny whole potatoes, diced
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Snipped parsley (optional)
Paprika (optional)

In large saucepan, fry bacon until crisp; remove and drain. Pour all but 3 tablespoons drippings from saucepan. Add onion and celery to drippings in pan; cook and stir until onion is tender.

Remove from heat; blend in flour. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly so that the bottom of the pan does not burn. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Stir in corn, potatoes, salt and pepper; heat through. Stir in bacon. Sprinkle each serving with parsley and paprika.