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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Skillet BBQ Chicken

I heart BBQ Chicken!  Living in an apartment and not being allowed to have a personal grill....stinks!  So, last Sunday when the craving hit hard, I broke down and made it inside.  Please don't tell master-grillers this, but it was actually some of the best damn BBQ Chicken I've ever made.  Please feel free to use any cut of chicken you want...I used thighs because they lend extra flavor to the dish!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cream Cheese Muffins

These are, by far, the BEST muffins I've ever tasted.  Moist, sweet, and loaded with cream cheese.  Yeah, baby...these are delicious!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sour Cream Pound Cake

This is my mom's favorite...she always asks for one on her birthday and I'm always happy to make her one.  It's so easy and so yummy that I ALWAYS make one for my house too!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ham and Asparagus Gratin

I love one-dish meals, especially during the week.  They make my life easier...and anything that makes my life easier is a GOOD thing!!  The gooey deliciousness of this meal is hard to resist!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Tempted to lick the screen?  Yeah, me too.  Refrain and go buy the ingredients for this dessert, then get your ass in the kitchen!

What you'll need:
3 cups heavy whipping cream
10 ounces white chocolate
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
8 egg yolks
1 loaf French bread, torn into pieces and dried in the oven

For the sauce:
8 ounces white chocolate
3 ounces of heavy cream

Heat the cream in a double boiler and add the white chocolate; when the chocolate is melted, remove from heat.

In a double boiler, heat the milk, sugar, eggs and egg yolks until warm (do not let it come to a boil).  Blend the egg mixture into the cream and chocolate mixture.

Place the bread in a 9x13 baking pan.  Pour 1/2 the mixture over the bread and let settle for a while, making sure the bread soaks up all the mixture.  Top with the rest of mixture.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 275° for 1 hr and 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Top with white chocolate sauce.  Serve warm.

To make the chocolate sauce:

Gently melt the white chocolate in a double boiler.  Remove from heat and mix in heavy cream.  Spoon over bread pudding.

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**Adapted from recipe at http://www.gumbopages.com**

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reese Cup Cheesecake

Wow, wow, wow.  When my honey asked me for a Reese's Cheesecake, I was more than happy to oblige.  Honestly, I didn't expect it to be THIS GOOD!  This recipe was adapted from the Food.com recipe for the Ruggle's Reese Cup Cheesecake.

What you'll need:


For the crust:
4 1/2 cups oreo cookies (crushed)
1/2 cup butter melted

For the filling:
2 lbs cream cheese (softened)
5 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup of smooth creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures (broken into pieces, divided)

Topping:
2 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar

**This is a plan-ahead dessert....cheesecake will need to chill for 4 hours prior to serving**

Preheat oven to 275°.

Make the Crust:

1.  Combine Oreo cookies (I crushed mine using a food processor) and melted butter.  Stir until the cookie crumbs are completely coated.
2.  Pat mixture into bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch spring form pan.

Make the Filling

1.  Beat room temperature cream cheese in bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.
2.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3.  Add sugar, peanut butter, and cream.  Mix until smooth.
4.  Stir in vanilla.
5.  Fold in peanut butter cups with a rubber spatula.
6.  Pour filling into spring form pan that has been prepared with crust.
7.  Place spring form pan into a larger, deeper baking pan.
8.  Pour HOT water into bottom pan, until it reaches 1 inch up the sides of the spring form pan.
9.  Bake at 275° for 1 hr and 45 minutes or until firm and lightly browned.
10.  Spread topping mixture over the cake and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
11.  Turn off the oven and allow cake to cool IN THE OVEN for 1 hour.  (This prevents cracking)

To Make the Topping:

1.  Combine sour cream and granulated sugar and mix well.

Garnish:

When the cake has completely cooled, remove it from the oven and top it with remaining chopped peanut butter cups.  Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Squash Casserole

Southern cooks rock.  My number one reason for saying this?  Because we can get our families to eat vegetables!!! Yes, we may add butter and cheese and such...but they've got their mouths full of what would be otherwise untouched vegetables.

What you'll need:

3-4 large fresh yellow "summer" squash (washed) and sliced 1 inch thick
1 large white onion (roughly chopped)
1 cup mild cheddar cheese
2 oz cream cheese (cut into pieces)**optional**
12 TownHouse crackers (crushed)
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray 8x8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

1.  Slice squash 1 inch thick.  Chop onion.  Boil for 8-10 minutes or until squash is tender and onion is transparent.  Drain and transfer to baking dish.
2.  Top squash and onion mixture with dollops of cream cheese.
3.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
4.  Top with crushed crackers and drizzle with melted butter.
5.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated all the way through and the cheese & crackers are lightly browned.



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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Asian Chicken Salad



I'm not a salad lover, but just the thought of this salad is enough to make my mouth water.  It pairs perfectly with eggrolls and it only takes 30 minutes to make!

What you'll need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Fresh Baby Spinach
Chow Mein Noodles
Roasted Sliced Almonds
Kraft Toasted Asian Sesame Dressing (or you can make your own)

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray an 8x8 glass dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2.  Place chicken breasts in dish and pour about 2 tablespoons of dressing over the chicken.  (If you remember, which I never do, you can also marinate the chicken in the dressing overnight.)
3.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 30 minutes.  Shred chicken and set aside.
4.  Heat a small skillet on medium-low.  Add a handful of Chow Mein Noodles and roasted sliced almonds.  Cook until lightly browned.  Remove from heat.
5.  Place 1-2 handfuls of spinach on a plate.  
6.  Top with shredded chicken, chow mein noodles, and almonds.
7.  Serve with Asian Sesame Dressing.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Blondies with Maple Butter Sauce

Oh my dear goodness!  These are the definition of goodness.  They didn't last very long in my house!!!

What you'll need:

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butterscotch chips (I also threw in a handful of chocolate chips)

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly butter and flour an 8x8 pan.  Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl.
2.  Add the egg and vanilla extract.  Whisk together.
3.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Mix it all together.  Add the butterscotch chips and any other items you may want to add (chocolate chips, walnuts, etc.)
4.  Pour into the pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool and cut into squares.

Makes about 8 blondies

Maple Butter Sauce

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar

Melt butter over medium-low heat.  Add maple syrup and whisk together.  Add brown sugar and whisk until melted.  Spoon over blondie and serve.

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Catalina Green Beans




These ROCK!!!  If you have trouble getting your family to eat vegetables, give these a whirl!!

Banana Pudding Cupcakes

Hello Beautiful.  I'm pretty certain that cupcakes are a god-send.  Perfectly portioned and at least a million varieties...yes, it seems they qualify as food of the gods.  So, it seemed fitting that my first post should be about cupcakes, the delectable little bits of heaven that they are.  These Banana Pudding Cupcakes certainly fit the bill.

What you'll need:
15-20 Nilla Wafers (crushed fine and divided)
1 box instant banana pudding mix (unprepared)
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon banana extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with paper cups.

1.  Whisk together flour, pudding mix, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
2.  Cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.
3.  Add vanilla and banana extracts.
4.  Alternate adding flour mixture and milk.  Beginning and ending with flour mixture.
5.  Cover bottoms of muffin cups or paper liners with crushed vanilla wafers.  Remember to save some for garnish.
6.  Fill cups 2/3 full with cupcake batter.

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Allow to cool before icing.  (I suggest Banana Cream Cheese Icing)

Makes 12 cupcakes

**Option**I stuffed my cupcakes with vanilla pudding.  To do this, prepare 1 package vanilla pudding mix according to directions.  Use melon baller to scoop out a portion of cooled cupcake.  Fill with vanilla pudding, then apply icing.  


Banana Cream Cheese Icing

4 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
3-4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon banana extract

1.  Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.
2.  Add confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.
3.  Add vanilla and banana extracts.

Store any unused icing in the refrigerator.

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