Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ultimate Valentine's Day Chocolate Truffle

4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk
4 ounces sifted confectioners' sugar
3 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
powdered gold leaf

Melt 4.5 ounces of the semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler until just fluid. Using a whisk, incorporate softened butter, then egg yolk, sifted sugar and cream into the melted chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Pour chocolate mixture in heart molds or any other molds (an egg poacher works well as a mold), and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

Melt remaining 4 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler until just fluid.

Unmold chocolate truffles and dip them in the melted chocolate, shake off excess chocolate and leave to set on parchment paper. Trim excess chocolate.

In a small bowl, combine liqueur and gold dust to achieve a paint-like consistency. Using brushes, decorate hearts with gold "paint" A simple "I love You" is quite effective, or better still use an original romantic quote. If you are very artistic, birds, or a floral motif along the edges complete the effect.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pumpernickel Spinach Dip

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 packet of vegetable soup mix (Knorr's)
1 bunch of green onions (chopped, greens too!)
1 can of chopped water chestnuts (optional)
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed dry
1 large pumpernickel bread

In a bowl, blend sour cream, mayo, the soup mix, green onions water chestnuts and spinach.

Remove top and insides of the pumpernickel loaf, creating a bread bowl. Cut and reserve removed bread for dipping.

Spoon the spinach mixture into the pumpernickel bread bowl, and serve! This refrigerates for about a week, but to store remove dip from bread and place into a container.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Garlic Cucumber Dip

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces sour cream
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and diced (or grated, or you can put this in the food processor)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 small onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese and sour cream. Mix in the cucumber, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, January 28, 2008

White Chocolate Party Mix

This is a great recipe to get rid of the excess white chocolate from Christmas! And to make a super fast mix buy a ready made bag of chex mix and put melted white chocolate over the salty goodness!

1 pound white chocolate
3 cups crispy rice cereal squares
3 cups crispy corn cereal squares
3 cups toasted oat cereal
2 cups thin pretzel sticks
2 cups peanuts
1 (12 ounce) package mini candy-coated chocolate pieces

In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, slowly melt the white chocolate.

In a large bowl, combine cereals, pretzels, peanuts and candy coated chocolates.

Slowly pour the chocolate over the cereal mixture and stir to evenly coat.

Spread the mixture onto wax paper and cool. Break into small pieces, store in an air-tight container and refrigerate to keep fresh.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato pesto sauce mix
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a food processor or blender, combine the beans, mayonnaise, sauce mix and lemon juice; cover and process until blended. Transfer to a small bowl. Store in the refrigerator.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Seven Layer Taco Dip

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter, or container. A trifle dish works very well for get togethers and parties!

Spread the sour cream over the refried beans.

Top the layers with salsa. Place a layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and lettuce over the salsa, and top with Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rice with Black Beans

1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, undrained
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup instant white rice

In a large saucepan, cook and stir onion in oil until tender and translucent, but not brown. Add tomatoes, beans, oregano and garlic powder. Bring to boil. Stir in rice, return mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cover.

Let mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Broccoli Noodle Salad and Asian Peanut Citrus Sauce

1 pound dry noodles or pasta
1/2 cup Canola Oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red, yellow or green bell pepper, or any combination
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound broccoli florets

1. COOK noodles or pasta according to package directions; drain well. Put in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Set aside.

2. WHISK peanut butter, orange juice, lemon juice, soy sauce and sugar in a medium bowl until blended.

3. HEAT 1/2 cup oil, in a large, deep skillet, over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, garlic and broccoli cooking until broccoli is crisp-tender. Add pasta and citrus sauce tossing until well combined. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Easy Rocky Road Fudge

Butter No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 (12-oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 (16 oz.) container Chocolate Fudge Frosting
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup Mixed Nuts, chopped

1. LINE an 8-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges. Lightly coat with no-stick cooking spray.

2. MELT chips in large saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in frosting, marshmallows and mixed nuts, mixing until blended. Spread in prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

3. REMOVE fudge by lifting foil from pan. Separate foil from fudge. Cut into 48 squares.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Super Quick Tangy Avocado Dip

I'm sorry the recipes were delayed, due to the birth of my nephew.

1 avocado (peeled, cored, and mashed)
1-2 Tbs fat free thousand island dressing
2-3 Tbs salsa (of your choice)
1 Tbs chopped (or minced) onions
1 handful of white beans (you can add more if you wish or mash them)
1-2 tsp shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

After mashing avocado in microwave safe serving bowl, mix in dressing, salsa, onion, and white beans. Sprinkle cheese on top and microwave until heated, 1-2 min depending on serving size. Then enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Seitan and Black Bean Burritos

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 (8 ounce) packages seitan
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups cooked white rice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
10 (10 inch) tortillas of your choice

In a large saucepan, or wok, heat oil over medium-high and saute yellow onion, green onions, garlic, habanero, and bell pepper until onions become translucent. Add seitan and saute another 5 minutes. Add black beans and tomatoes. Heat through.

In a medium size mixing bowl combine heated mixture with cooked rice, cilantro, and 1 cup barbecue sauce.

Lay tortillas on flat surface. Spoon about 3/4 cup of filling onto each tortilla's center. Wrap tortilla so that mixture is captured on the inside .

In a casserole dish pour barbecue sauce to coat the dish's bottom. Place burritos in dish and pour more barbecue sauce on top of them. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 minutes.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Momos (Dumplings from Nepal)

3 c flour (plus more for dusting)
3/4 c warm water

For the filling:
8 oz yukon gold potatoes (about two medium), unpeeled
Coarse salt
2 c finely chopped green cabbage (about 1/4 med. head)
1/2 c finely chopped shiitake mushroom caps (about 2 oz) optional
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 c finely chopped yellow onion (about one small onion)
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 c finely chopped cilantro
2 Tbs vegetable stock
2 Tbs butter cut into 1/4 pieces at room temp.
vegetable oil , for steaming

Make the dough: Stir together flour and warm water in bowl until a dough forms. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until dough is smooth and springs back slightly when touched, 10-15 minutes. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temp for one hour.

Make the filling: place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with cold water by about two inches. Add a large pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1/2" cubes.

Stir together the remaining ingredients, plus 1 tsp of salt in a large bowl. Gently stir in potatoes. Cover, and refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

Divide dough into four pieces. Work quickly, with one piece at a time, keeping the remaining pieces covered with an inverted bowl. Flatten dough into an oblong slightly thinner than the pasta machines widest setting (number 1 on a kitchen aid pasta roller). Feed through machine. Turn dial to next narrower setting. Pass dough through, gently supporting it with the palm of your hand. Continue to press dough, passing it through ever-finer settings, until very thin but still intact. Transfer to a lightly floured cutting board, Using a 3 1/2" round cutter, cut out rounds. Transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet, and dust with flour. Cover with parchment and a barely damp kitchen towel. Repeat, rolling and cutting one sheet at a time.

Lightly moisten edge of one dough round with a finger dipped in water. Cup round in the palm of your hand, spoon one scant tablespoon filling in center. Place the thumb of the hand holding the dumpling over center of filling. Use the thumb and index finger of your free hand to pinch a portion of dough on one side to form a pleat. Make another pleat next to it. Repeat, rotating dumpling slightly as you work your way around, pressing each new pleat so it falls next to the one beside it. The pleats will begin to close around the thumb holding in the filling. Remove thumb, and hold top of pleats while you twist the bottom of the dumpling in the opposite direction. Press with your finger to make a small indentation in the center of the pleats, pinching up edges. Make sure dumpling is tightly sealed and air has been pressed out. return to sheet: cover, and repeat.

Steam dumplings in batches in an oiled steamer insert or bamboo steamer set over simmering water until shiny, 8-10 minutes. Serve with hot sauce.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nepali Hot Sauce (for momos)

2 plum tomatoes (6 oz)
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp crumbled dried red chilies
3/4 c coarsely chopped yellow onion (1 med/ onion)
2 Tbs coarsely chopped garlic (about 2 large cloves)
1 Tbs coarsely chopped fresh ginger
3/4 tsp coarse salt
2 Tbs coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add tomatoes, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Squeeze juice and seeds from tomatoes over a small bowl, and reserve. Coarsely chop tomato flesh.

Heat oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add cumin and chilies and cook until chilies darken and become fragrant, about one minute. Add onion, garlic. and ginger and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and salt and cool another two minutes. Stir in reserved tomato juice and seeds and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated about two minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Puree mixture with the cilantro in a food processor until smooth. Add rice vinegar and more salt if desired.

Sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks, bring to room temp before serving.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Jenny's Double Olive Pasta Surprise

This recipe makes enough for two servings, and only takes one pot to cook it.

The black beans hide in the rigatoni's, which make them a welcome surprise!

About four handfuls of Rigatoni Pasta
Green Olives of choice, about one good handful (pureed in food processor)
One clove of garlic (thrown in the food processor as well)
Olive Oil
1/2 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
parsley (fresh or dry)
parmesan cheese (any kind)

Boil salted water in a sauce pan. Cook the rigatoni for 9 minutes.

Meanwhile in the food processor puree olives and garlic in food processor. Dump out puree into a bowl and add olive oil. You want to get a sauce consistency, just enough to get it pourable, about 5-6 Tbs.

Drain pasta and add it back into the same sauce pan, turn heat down to medium. Add in the pureed olives and stir. Add in the black beans and parsley and stir until combined. Add about 2-3 Tbs of parmesan cheese and stir until melted.

Serve and top with a sprinkle of parmesan and parsley.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pecan Clouds

2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 250°F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until whites form stiff peaks. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Drop mounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven. Turn off heat, and allow to remain in oven at least another 30 minutes, or until the centers of cookies are dry.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sesame Noodles

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup peanut oil
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 dash hot pepper sauce

1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 green onions, minced
2 cups diagonally sliced snap peas

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 (7 ounce) package fresh udon noodles

In a container with a tight fitting lid, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil and hot pepper sauce. Close the lid, and shake vigorously to blend. Set aside to let the flavors combine.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add udon noodles, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, and place in a serving bowl.

In a large skillet or wok, warm up a small amount of peanut oil then combine the green, red, and yellow peppers with green onion and peas. Heat until warm, but still crisp. Add to the noodles in and pour the dressing over all. Toss to coat everything in dressing, then sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the top.

Toasting sesame seeds:
Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake pan, or stir occasionally until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gelatin Cheesecake

1 (12-ounce) container low-fat (1 percent) cottage cheese
2 (0.3-ounce) boxes sugar free strawberry gelatin, plus 1 box
2 ready-made light graham cracker crusts
1 pint fresh strawberries, plus extra for garnish
1 (8-ounce) container frozen light whipped topping, thawed

Put cottage cheese in a blender. Make 2 boxes of the gelatin, using 1 cup of hot and 1 cup of cold water. At once, before it jells, add to cottage cheese. Blend until smooth. Pour evenly into crusts and refrigerate until set. Cut up fruit and place on top of pie. Make remaining package of gelatin as per instructions on box. Pour it on top of fruit and put it in refrigerator until set. Put whipped topping on top. Garnish with more fruit.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Valentine's Day Trifle

1 (7 ounce) package jellyrolls, each cut into thin slices
1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Arrange jellyroll slices on sides and bottom of a 2 1/2 quart glass bowl or trifle dish.

Prepare pudding according to box directions, except use only 1 1/2 cups milk; let sit for 5 minutes to thicken. Fold in 1 cup whipped topping.

Arrange 1/2 strawberries on jellyroll slices; top with pudding, then remaining strawberries and whipped topping. Garnish with strawberry halves, if desired.

Cover and chill for 8 hours; serve.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Blueberry Waffles

3 egg yolks, beaten
1 2/3 cups milk
2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
2/3 cup blueberries

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and milk. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in butter, and set mixture aside for about 30 minutes.

Preheat a lightly greased waffle iron.

Fold egg whites and 2/3 cup blueberries into the mixture. Scoop portions of the mixture into the prepared waffle iron, and cook until golden brown.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Thick Vegan Carrot Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 large carrots, sliced
5 new potatoes, quartered
2 cups vegetable broth (3 cups for thinner soup)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook stirring often until onion is translucent. Add carrots and potatoes, and cook for just a few minutes to allow the carrots to sweat out some of their juices.

Pour the vegetable broth into the pot, and season with ginger, curry powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until carrots are tender.

Puree soup in small batches using a food processor or blender, or if you have an immersion blender, it can be done in the soup pot. Reheat soup if necessary, and serve.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Feta Cheese Ball

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 green onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons dried dill weed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, feta cheese, olive oil, green onions and garlic. Season with dill, oregano and pepper. Mix well, and form into 2 balls. Cover, and chill for 2 hours.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Peppermint Patties

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons shortening

In a large mixing bowl, combine condensed milk and peppermint extract. Beat in enough confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, to form a stiff dough that is no longer sticky. Form into 1 inch balls, then place on waxed paper and flatten with fingers to form patties. Let patties dry at room temperature two hours, turning once.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate with shortening, stirring often. Remove from heat. Dip patties, one at a time, into chocolate by laying them on the tines of a fork and lowering the fork into the liquid. Let cool on waxed paper until set.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic, crushed or to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 (6 ounce) mahi mahi fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a shallow glass dish, stir together the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic and olive oil. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper, and place them into the dish. If the fillets have skin on them, place them skin side down. Cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinate.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish from the dish, and reserve marinade. Fry fish for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning only once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fillets to a serving platter and keep warm.

Pour reserved marinade into the skillet, and heat over medium heat until the mixture reduces to a glaze consistently. Spoon glaze over fish, and serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Frozen Margarita Pie

3 cups thin salted pretzel sticks (about 4 ounces)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 each large egg white
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon water
1 14-ounce can nonfat sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 drops green food coloring (optional)
6 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons powdered egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
Lime slices and Sour Cream Topping (recipe follows) for garnish (optional)

To make crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch pie pan or coat it with nonstick spray.

Combine pretzels and sugar in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add egg white, oil and water and pulse until moistened. Press firmly into bottom and sides of prepared pan.

Bake crust for 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make filling: Whisk condensed milk, lime juice, tequila, orange zest and food coloring (if using) in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.

Combine warm water, powdered egg whites and cream of tartar in another mixing bowl. Stir gently until egg whites are dissolved, about 2 minutes. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff and glossy.

Beat cream in a small chilled bowl with chilled beaters with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. (Alternatively, use a chilled wire whisk.)

With a rubber spatula, gently fold reserved condensed milk mixture into beaten whites; fold in whipped cream. Pour filling into cooled crust. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 1 hour. Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours more.

Soften pie in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. Garnish with lime slices and Sour Cream Topping, if desired.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Curry Party Snack Mix

You need any 12 cups of snacks for this mix which could be: cereals, crackers, pretzels, nuts, popcorn and crunchy cheetos.

3/4 c butter, melted
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp curry powder

Heat oven to 250° F.

In a large roasting pan, gently stir together all 12 cups of snack choices.

In a small bowl stir together the seasoning ingredients, and mix well.

Pour butter mixture over snack choices, and gently stir. Bake uncovered for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool and store in an air tight container.