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Archive for January, 2011

Good Sunday Morning to you all!  I figured a lovely breakfast was in order this morning.

My plan was to make Raspberry & Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast from justapinch.com.  However, upon finding that my grocery store did not have raspberries (frozen or fresh) and no challah or hawaiian bread, I decided to embark on my own version with what I could scrape up from my grocery store (since I wasn’t interested in running all around town just to find breakfast ingredients).

So, here is my take on a stuffed french toast.  And, if I do say so myself I thought it was pretty good.  Although very filling!

Cheesy-Blackberry Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened (I used the low-fat version)
  • 8 large slices bread (I used a Sweet Buttermilk bread – Pepperidge Farms, I think)
  • 1 cup frozen blackberries, defrosted (you can use fresh or you can use other kinds of berries)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Dash salt

Instructions:

  1. Mix honey & cinnamon into the softened cream cheese.  Spread cream cheese mixture on one side of each of the slices of bread.
  2. Place some of the blackberries on top of the cream cheese side of a slice of bread.  Cover with a second slice (cream cheese side down).  To make a cream cheese & blackberry sandwich.
  3. Mix the beaten eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt in a shallow dish (I prefer using a pie plate).  Place the “sandwiches” in the egg mixture and let it soak up.  Flipping so both sides will soak up the egg mixture.
  4. Place in a greased baking pan.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Flip the french toast and bake for another 10 minutes.  The egg & bread mixture should be set and no longer runny.
  5. I had mine with blackberry syrup (recipe below) but you could certainly use regular maple syrup or warmed honey.

Blackberry Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Bring everything to a boil in a saucepan.  Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Mash the blackberries in the pan as they are cooking to help them release their juices.
  3. Strain syrup to remove seeds.

Enjoy your breakfast! 

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Since it’s been chilly around here I think it’s time to try out some new soup recipes!

Monday night in preparation for the Ice-pocolypse that was going to hit the south, I decided to try Thai Chicken Soup.

I left the cilantro out of the original recipe since my husband does not like cilantro.  I also thought I had fish sauce in my pantry – but it turned out to be Oyster sauce.  I used that anyways.  I know it’s not the same thing, but I had it.  And it tasted just fine.  I also added more rice noodles than the recipe called for because I didn’t want to deal with a partial package of rice noodles (it wouldn’t go back in the original packaging – at least not well) and I really like noodles anyway.

Other than that, I pretty much followed the original recipe from the Food Network.

Thai Chicken Soup from the Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp green curry paste

6 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1 (15oz) can coconut milk ( I used the lite coconut milk)

1 Tbsp fish sauce

2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced

4 oz thin rice noodles, broken into pieces (I ended up using the whole package)

1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts, very thinly sliced crosswise

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 cup freshly chopped cilantro (I omitted this and added parsley instead)

Instructions:

1) Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and curry paste and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk and fish sauce; cover and bring to a boil.

2) Add the bell peppers and noodles and simmer, uncovered, until the noodles are al dente, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer until just cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add more fish sauce and lime juice, if desired.

But, this was definitely a fun twist on a normal run-of-the-mill chicken noodle soup.  I think next time I have a cold, I’m going to be making this soup.

Last night I made a Roasted Garlic Soup which was also very good.  My husband thought it would be better as a sauce.  I think I might do that with the leftovers, just thicken it up with some pasta and chicken.  Mmmmm…  But I also liked it in soup form.  We definitely kept the vampires at bay because it has a lot of garlic in it.

I based my recipe on the Poached Garlic Soup recipe from foodnetwork.com; however I changed it around from the original recipe and I think it turned out quite well.

Roasted Garlic Soup

Ingredients:

6 heads of garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 c. diced onion

1 c. diced leek (white part only)

1 bay leaf

1 c. peeled, diced potatoes

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

4 c. chopped swiss chard

1 c. heavy cream

1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

1) Roast the garlic at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the garlic is soft.  Squeeze softened garlic from the peels (I suggest to let the garlic cool a bit before doing this).

2) Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion, leek, bay leaf and a little salt.  Cover and cook until the vegetables are soft, but not brown, around 10 minutes.

3) Add the potatoes, roasted garlic, Italian seasoning and chicken stock.   Bring to a boil then reduce the heat cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

4) Add swiss chard and heavy cream and cook an additional minute until the greens wilt.

5) Blend in a blender until smooth.  Be careful to only fill the blender about halfway as the hot liquid will expand when blending

I served this soup with some ham & cheese melts that are basically home-made hot pockets.  I just wrapped some ham deli meat and cheddar cheese in crescent roll dough and baked.

These soups have definitely hit the spot with the weather being cold and nasty.  And I have a whole list of other soups I want to try!

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For the holidays I made two different candies.  I made Oreo balls and I made Cranberry-Almond Fudge.  I was going to make Peanut butter balls instead but didn’t have enough peanut butter and my husband mentioned his Mom really liked my fudge (and I had all of those ingredients) so I made that instead.

The fudge recipe I use is the basic recipe located on the back of the Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.  It’s super easy and tastes good.  I take that basic recipe and will add my own twists using dried fruit or crushed candies or different flavorings.   One could use nuts (I don’t like nuts – so I don’t use them).  Here is the recipe for the fudge I made this year.  I used semi-sweet chocolate, but I think that this recipe would also be quite good with white chocolate.

Cherry-Almond Fudge

Ingredients:

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup dried cherries

dash salt

Instructions:

1) Line an 8″ or 9″ square pan (I normally use parchment paper or aluminum foil).

2) Melt the chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk and salt.  Remove from heat.  Add almond extract and dried cherries.

3) Pour into lined pan and chill a couple hours until set.

4) Remove from pan and cut into individual pieces.

I think a lot of folks tend to like this recipe because it is creamier than a lot of fudges are.  It doesn’t have that crystalline texture that some do.  And it’s wonderful to make because there is no candy thermometer or candy water test to mess with.  Just melt, mix and set.  In past years I have made fudge with toffee pieces or pepperment pieces or dried cranberries.  Really, your imagination is the limit.  You can use different kinds of chips (white chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch) to make different kinds of fudge too!

The Oreo Balls I had not made before.  I kept seeing an ad for the recipe on Facebook and it kept taunting me so I decided to make them.  I thought they were OK but my husband and family definitely liked them.  And they also go under the easy candy category too.  For this recipe, I mostly followed the original from Just A Pinch.com except I dipped them in semi-sweet chocolate instead of white.

Oreo Balls submitted by Lisa Boger at www.justapinch.com

Ingredients:

1 pkg Oreo sandwich cookies

1 (8oz) package of cream cheese (I used the low-fat variety)

1 large package white chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Instructions:

1) In a food processor, grind the Oreos until they look like dirt.

2) Place cookie crumbs in a bowl and add the softened cream cheese.  Blend until mixture is wet.

3) Take cookie mixture and form into 1″ balls and set on wax paper.

4) Melt chocolate.  Dip Oreo balls into chocolate and put back on the waxed paper.

5) Chill until chocolate hardens.

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Sorry, it’s been a while since I posted. Right after the last I came down with a nasty cold and then was gone for the holidays.
Most of the cookie stockpile has now been given away and consumed.
I have a few recipes that I need to share before I start on some new ones.

Since the weather has been chilly, I’ve been thinking about trying out some new soup recipes. I am generally not a big soup maker and/or eater. But, sitting here in my chilly office – that really sounds good right now.

So, stay tuned for the remaining Christmas recipes I didn’t get to post before I left and some upcoming soup recipes!

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