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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Light Coconut Cream Cake

This is relatively low in fat and calories considering it's a CAKE! But the flavor and texture does not taste or appear "low fat". Goes great with a cup of coffee!


1/4 cup light butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup Splenda*

1/2 cup lowfat milk

3 tbsp. half and half cream

1 egg

2 tsp. coconut extract

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-1/3 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. light butter

3 tbsp. packed brown sugar

1 tbsp. water

2/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut, divided

1/2 carton fat free or light Cool Whip


1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spread 1/3 cup coconut on a baking sheet and lightly toast in the preheated oven for a few minutes, until lightly browned.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat together 1/4 cup light butter, 1/3 cup sugar and Splenda until light and fluffy. Beat in milk, cream, egg, coconut extract and vanilla extract.

3. In another bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until well blended, about one minute. Stir in remaining coconut.

4. Melt butter in a nonstick 9-inch round cake pan. Stir in brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Sprinkle toasted coconut over top of sugar mixture. Pour cake batter into pan.

5. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Loosen sides; invert onto a plate. Let cool completely. Carefully slice cake in half horizontally to make two thin halves. Spread Cool Whip over bottom half; replace top half and lightly press onto whipped topping. Yield: 8 servings.

*Useful Tip: If you choose to not use the Splenda use sugar instead.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Why fry when baking tastes this good? These succulent shrimp are golden brown and crispy, with just the right amount of coconut. The dipping sauce, similar to that from that famous steakhouse chain, is a must with the shrimp!


1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup whole wheat or panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut, coarsely chopped to break up strands

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

Pinch salt and pepper

3 egg whites, well beaten

2 tbsp. water

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

MARMALADE DIPPING SAUCE

1/4 cup low sugar orange marmalade or apricot preserves

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. creamy horseradish

Pinch salt and pepper


1. Rinse shrimp and dry on paper towels. Prepare marmalade dipping sauce; set aside.

2. Combine bread crumbs, coconut, coconut extract and a pinch of salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl beat together egg whites, water and coconut extract.

3. Heat oven to high broil. Dip dry shrimp in egg white mixture; roll in coconut mixture to cover all sides. Place shrimp on a baking stone; spray with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Place shrimp on middle rack in oven. Broil for 3-4 minutes, until tops begin to brown. Switch oven to 450º and continue baking shrimp for 10-11 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Yield: 4 servings.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

This spin off from Quaker is absolutely delicious! For an equally delicious and special treat, use dried cherries instead of cranberries.


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups oats

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup sweetened dried cranberries


1. Heat oven to 350º.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add oats, chocolate and cranberries; stir well.

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to counter top to cool completely. Store tightly covered. Yield: about 4 dozen.

Frozen Lime Mint Dessert

This recipe brings back wonderful memories of my childhood. My Grandma made these every Christmas, and though the ingredients list doesn't do the recipe the justice it truly deserves, they really are fabulous. I'm going to make them this Christmas, will post a picture after I make them.


1 can (8-1/4 ounces) crushed pineapple

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple

1 box (3 ounces) lime jello

3-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 cup butter mints, crushed

1 carton (8ounces) whipped topping


1. In large bowl, combine both cans of pineapple, undrained, dry lime jello, marshmallows and mints. Cover and refrigerate several hours or until marshmallows begin to dissolve. Fold in whipped topping.

2. Spoon into paper-lined muffin cups. Cover and freeze 6 hours. Yield: about 2 dozen.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lazy Blogger!

Well, I wouldn't say lazy, but definitely not attentive to my blog the past several weeks. Life runs away with me sometimes, and I don't devote the time I want to to my blog. But, with Christmas coming and so many wonderful recipes to share, I really do hope to get back to posting very soon! Promise! =)

Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes

These are heavenly! And such a pretty color. =)

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 tbsp. butter, divided
1 tbsp. dried rosemary, slightly crushed
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup warm milk
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a 3-quart saucepan, cover potatoes and squash with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put 2 tbsp. of butter, rosemary and garlic in a small skillet over medium heat. Tilting pan and watching closely, cook about 3 minutes, until butter foams and begins to brown; remove from heat and keep warm.

2. Thoroughly drain potatoes and squash, return to pan and shake about a minute over low heat. Mash with a hand masher leaving mixture slightly chunky. Over low heat, gently mix in browned butter, remaining 2 tbsp. of butter, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Apple Crisp Pizza

This Taste of Home recipe reminds me of the perfect fall dessert with its bounty of apples and beautiful fall-brown color. This is a terrific hand-held crisp, or good warmed with vanilla bean ice cream.


PASTRY

2 cups flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled

1/4 cup shortening, cut into pieces and chilled

4 to 5 tbsp. cold water

FILLING

2/3 cup sugar

3 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

4 medium baking apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices

TOPPING

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping


1. For pastry, mix flour and salt in bowl. With pastry blender or fingertips, combine butter and shortening into flour mixture until texture of coarse meal. Gradually add water, tossing with fork, until mixture begins to mass together. Shape dough into a ball, then flatten slightly to a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 45 minutes.

2. Roll pastry to fit a 12-inch pizza pan, between 1/8 and 1/2-inch thick; trim and flute edges.

3. Combine sugar, 3 tbsp. flour and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a bowl. Add apples and toss. Arrange apples in a single layer in a circular pattern to completely cover pastry.

4. Combine the first 5 topping ingredients with the leftover cinnamon-sugar mixture from the apples. Sprinkle over apples.

5. Bake at 350º for 40 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with caramel topping. Yield: 12 servings.

Crockpot Pot Roast

Good old fashioned pot roast with all of the trimmings really signifies down home cooking. Because this has meat and vegetables all in one, I usually serve this with a hearty salad and some warm crusty bread with butter. Perfect with a glass of red wine or apple cider.


1 3 to 4 pound beef roast

4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small onion, sliced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup beef broth

1/4 cup red wine (stout like Merlot)

1 tbsp. dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/8 tsp. paprika

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Trim most of fat off roast. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

2. Place potatoes, carrots and onion in crockpot. Stir in garlic. Place roast on top.

3. Stir together broth, wine, parsley, thyme, paprika and salt and pepper. Pour over and around roast. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours until roast and veggies are tender. Remove meat and vegetables and thicken liquid with cornstarch if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pumpkin Maple Swirl Muffins

I start dreaming of pumpkin this and pumpkin that come September when fall is just around the corner. These muffins are definitely a delicious fall treat.


FILLING

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp. packed brown sugar

2 tbsp. maple syrup

MUFFINS

2 cups flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp. maple syrup

TOPPING

1 tbsp. packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts


1. For filling: combine cream cheese, sugar and maple syrup in small bowl until blended.

2. For muffins: combine flour, sugar, nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Mix eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk, oil and maple syrup in medium bowl; add to flour mixture, mixing until just blended. Fold filling in just until batter is swirled.

3. For topping: mix together sugar and nuts in small bowl.

4. Spoon batter into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Sprinkle nut topping over muffins.

5. Bake in preheated 400º oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes; serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

Apple Stuffed Pork Chops

Apple stuffed pork chops scream fall to me. This savory pork 'n stuffing main dish is perfect on a crisp fall evening with a side salad and mug of warm apple cider.

4 pork chops, 1 to 1-1/2-inches thick

1 box (6 ounces) cornbread stuffing mix

1-1/2 cups hot chicken broth

1 cup chopped apple

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tbsp. chopped parsley


1. Heat oven to 350º. Season each pork chop with salt and pepper to taste. Make a pocket in each chop by cutting between rib bones.

2. Combine stuffing mix, chicken broth, apple, onion and parsley; mix well.

3. Stuff each chop with 1/2 cup stuffing. Place in 11x7-inch baking dish. Spoon remaining stuffing around chops.

4. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once halfway through baking. Yield: 4 servings.

Hazelnut Mushroom Pilaf

I personally don't like mushrooms, but most people do so I pick 'em out. Sometimes I just leave 'em out all together. This is good either way. (This recipe is posted on one of my favorite websites allrecipes as well).


1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice

1/4 cup uncooked orzo

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup diced onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

2 tbsp. butter

2 cups fat free chicken broth

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp. dried marjoram

1/4 tsp. pepper

3 tbsp. coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted


1. In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, saute the rice, orzo, mushrooms, onion and celery in butter, stirring constantly, until rice is lightly browned. Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.

Cooking Conflict!

Work is seriously interfering with my cooking these days! I enjoy my job with the coffee giant, but I am not fond of the shift style work that has me working until 8:30 pm. I haven't been cooking a lot because I am working the later shift a few times a week. Gotta remedy this! So, I'm going to drag out the crockpot and start utilizing its convenience and ease. I really don't have many crockpot staple recipes, though, so if you have any you just love please send them my way!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dreaming of BBQ Sauce

It's been a quiet weekend in the cooking world around here as I have been working long hours and had a bbq to attend last night. Sadly, I didn't even cook for the bbq. I totally cheated and jazzed up Suddenly Salad's Chipotle Ranch pasta salad (but it was quite delicious). I used half sour cream and half mayonnaise for the dressing, and added some corn and cubed avocado. It was a big hit, so the easy route was a success this time. =) We're going to another bbq this afternoon, and we don't need to supply anything which means no cooking again today.

Tomorrow, however I am going to cook! Yay! My brother made an AMAZING bbq sauce yesterday, and my goal is to recreate it for tomorrow's chicken on the grill. I asked him for the recipe, and of course I got the "Oh, a bottle of ketchup, a bottle of barbecue sauce, a small jar of strawberry jelly, some sweet and sour, maple syrup, spices..." yada yada yada. Ok first, the jelly threw me off, wasn't expecting that. And I wouldn't have expected there to be jelly and maple syrup. But, in his words, "You need the syrup for its gooey sticking ability". Makes sense. And whatever he did it was honestly one of the best bbq sauces I've ever had. So, I will call him today and ask him to be a tad more specific with me then I'll go from there. Will definitely post the recipe once I nail it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hazelnut Espresso Shortbread

Also delicious without the espresso, and/or with mini chocolate chips added to the dough. Think of these in a pretty box or neatly wrapped in decorative cellophane for a delightful food gift, and not just for Christmas. =)


2 cups flour

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Blend flour, sugars, 1 tbsp. espresso powder and salt in food processor. Add butter, vanilla and 2/3 cup hazelnuts. Using pulse button, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. Knead just until dough comes together. Divide dough in half.

3. Press each half into 9-inch tart (or cake) pans that have been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Prick dough with fork several times. Bake until deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer shortbread to rack; cool 5 minutes. Remove shortbread from pan by inverting shortbread onto plates slightly smaller than pan and re-inverting onto cutting board. Cut into 24 wedges; cool completely.

4. Mix 2 tbsp. hot water and remaining 1 tsp. espresso powder in small saucepan. Add chocolate. Stir over low heat until chocolate is smooth. Remove from heat. Drizzle melted chocolate over shortbread wedges; sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts. Let stand until chocolate sets. Store in airtight container. Freezes well. Yield: 2 dozen.