Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hello Dolly Bars (aka 7 Layer Bars)

Melt 1 stick of butter in an 8 inch square pan (I use a 1/2 stick).

Add 1 cup of crushed graham crackers (I like TJ's Cinnamon Graham Crackers) and press in bottom of pan.

Sprinkle 6 oz chocolate chips, 6 oz butterscotch chips, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup chopped pecans.

Pour 1 can of condensed milk over ingredients and bake in 35 oven for 10 minutes.

(I usually refrigerate the bars to help them congeal.) Enjoy!

From the kitchen of: Laura T.

White Chocolate Popcorn

1 (3.3 oz) bag butter-flavored microwave popcorn, popped
1 cup salted mixed peanuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 (12 oz) package which chocolate morsels
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix nuts, cranberries and cinnamon in large bowl. Stir in popped popcorn, discarding any un-popped kernels.

Microwave white chocolate morsels in a glass bowl on HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth. Stir chocolate at 30-second intervals to avoid burning. Pour chocolate over popcorn mixture, stirring until evenly coated.

Spread mixture in a 15 x 10 inch jelly pan. Let stand 15 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Break into pieces, serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

From the kitchen of: Rhea Y.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Minted Zucchini and Fresh Corn Salad

From Weezie Mott Cooking School Serves 10-12.

Prep the following and set aside:
2 medium size sweet onions, finely chopped; such as Maui or Vidalia, etc.
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 pounds small firm unblemished zucchini, use dark green outside part only slcing off 1/4 inch think pieces on 4 sides of each zucchini (don't use middle, too much moisture)
Cut each piece of zucchini into 1/4 inch julienne (thin match like strips or small french fries)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons well packed fresh mint leaves finely cut with scissors
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, pre-cooked and cooled (yellow corn looks better than white). Use frozen or canned corn if out of season or if corn isn't fresh.

Putting the salad together
In a large skillet heat on high:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Add: 1/3 of the prepared zucchini julienne, toss then gently until lightly browned 3 - 5 minutes
Transfer to a large bowl.
Add another Tablespoon olive oil and another 1/3rd of the zucchini strips to skillet and repeat procedure until all zucchini julienne is cooked and transferred to bowl.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add the chopped onion to skillet.
Cover with small lid so onions can sweat with less air. Cook onions until soft.
Add the chopped garlic and cook covered another few minutes.
Do not allow garlic to brown.

Add the vinegar and oregano.
Simmer all ingredients together for 2 minutes, than pour them over the cooked zucchini julienne. (Turn heat up until liquid disappears, it may take more than 2 minutes.)
Blend in the thinly cut fresh mint.
Allow the mixture to cool completely.
Add the reserved corn kernels.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange attractively on a large platter.
Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

Recipe From:
Weezie Mott Cooking School
1630 Dayton Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
http://weeziemott.weebly.com/

Weezie Mott is 90 and teaches cooking classes in her home in Alameda. She's an exceptional chef and instructor. This recipe was from the best cooking class I've ever taken.

From the kitchen of: Weezie Mott

Pita Pizza

Prep and Bake Time: 10-15 min

Simple recipe the kids can make and everyone enjoys to eat.

Ingredients
4-6 pita bread rounds (white or whole wheat)
1 cup of pizza sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
toppings of your choice (veggies, cooked meats, cheeses)
Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spoon pizza sauce over pita rounds. Top with mozzarella and desired toppings.

Place on baking sheet and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve.

From the kitchen of: Kim H.

Playdoh

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 cup water (plus food coloring)
2 tsp vegetable oil

Combine dry ingredients in medium pot. Slowly stir in liquid ingredients and food coloring. Cook on medium heat until mixture forms ball. (If really sticky cook a little longer.) Knead until cool.
Store in air tight container for 3-4 weeks.

White Bean Soup

Prep and Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Place in a soup pot:
7 cups water
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary (crushed or chopped)
8 cloves garlic, chopped or sliced
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until fragrant, 10 minutes.

Stir in:
Two 15 oz cans of cannellini/white beans, drained and rinsed
28 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 T dried parsley
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with bread.

Optional:
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach (1 pound), stemmed
Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.


From the kitchen of: Megan H.

Pumpkin Squares

Crust
1 1/3 cup crushed graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup melted butter

OR

2 cups TJ crushed cinnamon graham crackers
¼ cup melted butter

Cream Cheese Layer
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 – 8 oz. pkg cream cheese softened

Pumpkin Layer
1 – 16 oz. can pumpkin
3 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cold water
3 egg whites

Mix graham crackers, butter and sugar and pat into greased 9 x 13 pan. Beat 2 eggs, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Pour over crust. Bake 20 min @ 350.

Stir together pumpkin, egg yolks, sugar, milk and cinnamon in double boiler. Stir frequently for about 5 min. In small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Stir over low heat until dissolved. Stir into pumpkin mixture. Cool

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add ¼ cup sugar. Beat until still and glossy. Gently fold into cooled pumpkin mixture. Power over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate and serve with whipped cream.

From the kitchen of: Laura T.

Italian Sausage Soup w/ Tortellini

Bake Time: 20-30 min

1 lb. Italian sausage (I like the Turkey Store's Hot Turkey Sausage)
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 cups chopped, tomatoes (I like Italian style stewed tomatoes)
1 cup shredded or thinly sliced carrots
1½ cup zuchini
2 garlic cloves, sliced
32 oz chicken broth
½ tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
8 oz can tomato sauce (I usually don't include this if I use the stewed tomatoes)
2 cups tortellini (I like TJ's versions)

Grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Cook sausage, then add vegetables, spices and chicken broth. Simmer for 20 - 30 min. Add tortellini for last 5 minutes. Serve w/ grated parmesan cheese.

From the kitchen of: Laura T.

Sylvia's Impossible Quiche

Bake Time: 30-35 min

1 cup milk
1/2 cup Bisquick (I like TJ's version)
4 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I've also used parmesan cheese, depending on the other ingredients)
1 cup chopped onion (I usually add broccoli too)
2 cups canned tuna, salmon or left over meat (I use 1/2 a roasted chicken for 1 quiche)
salt & pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and pour into a 10" pie pan. Bake @ 350 for 30 - 35 minutes.

From the kitchen of: Laura T.

Creamy Chicken and Biscuit Bake

Prep Time: 20 min + Bake Time: 20 min
America's Test Kitchen 30 minute meals
This hearty, comforting dish comes together quickly with shredded chicken, frozen peas and carrots, and a surprise ingredient—Boursin cheese.

Creamy Chicken and Biscuit Bake
Why this recipe works: Dropping cheesy biscuit dough over a hot chicken filling ensures that the biscuits will cook through quickly and that the bottoms of the baked biscuits won't be doughy.

1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded into bite-size pieces (about 3 cups)
2 (5.2 ounce) packages Boursin cheese (Garlic and Fine Herbs variety works best)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (1/4 c. with chicken + 1 c. in biscuit mix)
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (3/4 c. with chicken + 1/2 c. in biscuit mix)
Salt and Pepper
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat chicken, Boursin, 1/4 cup cream, 3/4 cup broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, scallions, and vegetables in large pot over medium heat, stirring often, until cheese is melted and mixture is heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to greased 13x9 inch baking dish.

2. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder, cheddar, 1 cup cream, 1/2 cup broth, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Space heaping tablespoons of batter about 1/2 inch apart over chicken mixture (you will have about 16 small biscuits). Bake until biscuits are golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Serve.

Test Kitchen Discoveries
1. Boursin cheese forms the flavor base for a very simple sauce. This cheese comes in different flavors, but we prefer the Garlic & Fine Herbs variety in this recipe.
2. Store-bought rotisserie chicken works perfectly. Discard the skin and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.
3. When making the biscuit topping, it’s important to work the dough as little as possible; the more it’s mixed, the more protein develops in the flour, which leads to toughness.

Megan's Notes
1. Costco has $4.99 rotisserie chickens and 3-pack Boursin cheese, making this a really affordable meal.
2. Definitely use "Sharp" cheddar cheese. I tried it with "mild" that was on sale, and blech, it loses its edge. Punny.
3. The biscuits don't spread very much, I use an OXO 1 1/2 T cookie scoop and place a little closer together.
4. I use 2 cups of frozen peas and carrots.
5. I am not very fast at pulling chicken off the bone. I have yet to make this in under 40 minutes. But if you prepare the chicken ahead of time you can throw this together really quickly.
6. For a lighter version you can use Boursin Light, and substitute milk for the cream in the sauce, but the biscuits fall flat without the cream, so I wouldn't substitute anything in the biscuits.