Friday, February 27, 2009

A-Maze-Ing Brownies!

If you crave a dense fudgey brownie, this will cure what ales you! This is Barefoot Contessa's recipe, but when I make them again, I will only use about 1-2 tsp of instant coffee because the coffee flavor was a little too evident. I think you could totally leave it out if you wanted, but a little coffee flavor definately makes the chocolate flavor more full-bodied. And when I made these, I didn't have any unsweetened chocolate, so I used 2 milk chocolate Hershey bars.
And one warning--this makes a lot of brownies and they are rich so you don't have to have a huge piece to get your fix. A whole jelly roll pan of brownies is enough for the neighborhood--at least the moms anyway!
Enjoy thouroughly!

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 ¼ cups flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan (jelly roll pan).

Melt together the butter, 1 lb chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together the 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 2 cups chocolate chips with 1/4 c. flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not overbake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares. (You could also use a larger cookie cutter and cut the brownies into shapes.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Valley Forge Clam Chowder

I am not a big fan of clam chowder but this stuff was way yummy!

Valley Forge Clam Chowder
2 6 1/2 oz cans minced clams drained,
save juice
1 C onions, chopped fine
1 C celery, diced
2 C diced potatoes

Pour clam juice over vegetables,
add enough water to cover & simmer until
potatoes are done.

3/4 C flour
3/4 C butter
1 quart milk

melt butter, add flour, stir until smooth and bubbly,
remove from heat, add milk gradually, then cook mixture
until smooth and creamy.

1 tsp salt and pepper

Mix all of the above together and heat through. Season
with salt and pepper.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Chicken Sandwich w/ Peppered Bacon and Cheese


I found this recipe on and made it tonight for dinner.
It was easy and tasty if anyone is in the mood for
a sandwich like we were!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pumpkin Bars - yummy and light!

Pumpkin Bars

Beat until fluffy:
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
1 16 oz. can pumpkin

2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda

Pour batter into large cookie sheet and spread evenlyBake at 350 for 18-23 minutes

Frosting3 oz. cream cheese, softened1/2 c. butter, softened1 tsp. vanilla3 c. powdered sugar

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tomato with Orzo Soup

I got this recipe from the Wegman's Menu magazine. I changed it a little to suit our tastes and our pantry! I've been wanting to make a homemade tomato soup and this looked really good, especially served with grilled cheese sandwiches! Me, Peter, and Lauren loved it and Natalie was able to eat most of hers with limited gagging---we call that a win!

About 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, celery and carrots
2 T. veg oil
1 T. chopped garlic
1-14 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 -14 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
32 oz. hot chicken stock (I used broth)
1 cup orzo pasta
1 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

Saute veggies in oil in large stock pot 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add all tomatoes and seasonings, simmer 10 minutes. Add stock; return to simmer. Add orzo. Simmer 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Temper cream: pour cream into medium bowl. Add a few ladles of hot soup to cream to slowly raise cream temp. Add cream mixture to soup.
(The directions say it freezes very well too.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Honey Nut Chicken Sticks

This is a Rachel Ray Recipe that we tried last week and it was loved by all! Jeremy and I had the chicken strips on top of a salad with this dressing and the kids ate them plain with dipping sauce and veggies on the side. The perfect compromise!


2 pounds chicken tenders
Salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
A splash milk
2 cups honey nut flavored cereal, (I used Honey Bunches of Oats)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons grill seasoning, such as McCormick brand Montreal Poultry Seasoning
1/4 cup vegetable oil (eyeball it)
Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Place flour in a large, shallow dish. Coat chicken in flour.
Beat eggs and milk in a shallow dish. Combine cereal, bread crumbs, paprika, poultry seasoning, grill seasoning and vegetable oil in food processor. Transfer breading to a shallow dish.
Place a nonstick baking sheet near chicken breading station. In batches, take flour-coated chicken and coat in eggs, followed by breading and place on nonstick cookie sheet. When all the chicken has been coated, transfer to oven and bake 15 minutes, until evenly brown and cooked through.
Cool and serve, or pack up for a picnic! This chicken may be served hot or cold.

Twice Baked Potatoes

This recipe came from Paula Deen's magazine from March/April 2008. I made them for Easter, Christmas, and many times in between. You can't loose with ingredients like cream cheese, bacon, and cheese! (The recipe says it serves two, but I always double or triple everything because people will chow down on these!)
2 large baking potatoes
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. shredded cheddar (When is 1/4 cup of cheese ever enough for anything?)
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 T. sour cream
1 T. dry ranch salad dressing seasoning mix
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 425.
Wash potatoes and wrap in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour or until tenter. Allow to cool until easy to handle.
Cut in half and scrape out pulp of potatoes and place in med bowl, leaving a 1/4" thick shell. Set aside
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine potato pulp, butter, and remaining ingredients. Mash with a fork to combine. Spoon potato mixture into potato shells; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through.

Sheet Cake (from Barefoot Contessa---my hero!)

This sheet cake will totally surprise you! It is tasty and totally from scratch! And if you love a cake with frosting, you'll be in heaven. If you're not totally in love with frosting, I would cut the frosting recipe in half.

2 1/4 sticks butter, at room temp
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, at room temp
1 cup sour cream, at room temp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes (this is the secret to from scratch cakes!). On med speed, add eggs, 2 at a time, then add sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.
Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl. With mixer on low, add the flour mixture until just combined. Pour into prepared 18x12 pan (I use a jelly roll pan). Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Do not over cook! At 20 minutes start checking with a toothpick for doneness. Cool to room temp.

4 sticks butter, at room temp
1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese, at room temp
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients in mixer until smooth. Slather over cake!

(In the cookbook, this cake is decorated like a flag with the white frosting, raspberries, and blueberries. I made it for the Super Bowl and tried to make it look like a football field. The possibilities are endless.)

Slush Punch

This is the punch my mom would make for any of her parties when we were growing up and then it was served at all of the weddings in my family. Now I make it for my parties.

4 cups sugar
4 cups water
6 oz. frozen OJ concentrate
1/2 cup lemon juice
46 oz. pineapple juice (from a can)
2 2-liters ginger ale

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and warm until sugar is all dissolved. Don't boil. Pour into any freezeable container. Freeze for at least 24 hours.
When ready to serve, pour ginger ale over and scrape the frozen block to make slush.

Marinated Green Bean Salad

This dish is served at Michie Tavern, right near Monticello. I bought their cookbook because their food is sooo good and Peter and I really love this easy green bean salad. (great for Adkins diet too!)

1 lb can green beans
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup salad oil
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 1/2 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp. pepper

Drain beans and set aside. In a large bowl combine all other ingredients and whisk well. Add the beans, gently stir and chill for one hour. Before serving stir to distribute marinade.
(Note: I have actually used the big can of green beans from Costco, that costs less than $3, with this amount of marinade.)