Sunday, March 29, 2009

Easy Cream Puffs!

A while back I saw this recipe on Bunny's Warm Oven and just knew that I had to give it a try.

I love cream puffs but I don't make them very often because of how time consuming they are, the fact that this recipe is quick and easy AND it calls for using Puff Pastry, was enough to make me put it on my list to try.

Today was the perfect day, it's been cloudy and windy and just the type of weather to make me want to get into the kitchen and bake.

Cream-filled Pastry
-Bunny's Warm Oven

1 pkg. frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed per package directions

Remove the package of puff pastry from the box; take it out of the wrapper and allow it to sit on the counter @ room temperature for 20-30 minutes Carefully open one pastry sheet along the creases; place remaining sheet in the refrigerator to keep it cold (I cut the pastry when it's partially frozen-as long as I can unfold it and it doesn't tear, it's fine. The pastry seems to puff higher when it bakes if it's cold when it goes in the oven). Using a long, sharp knife, cut each strip of pastry at creases, forming 3 strips. Cut each strip widthwise into 7 pieces, slicing straight down-don't drag the knife across the pastry. Flip each cut piece over (to place the side you cut on down onto the sheet). Place on lightly greased baking sheets, leaving room between each piece. Repeat with remaining sheet of pastry. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Using a serrated knife, slice through the center to make top and bottom halves.

1 c. whole milk
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place flour in a small saucepan; slowly whisk in milk. Cook and whisk constantly over low heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat; place mixture into a small bowl. Cover bowl with a paper towel and cool to room temperature.
Place cooled mixture in bowl of electric mixer; beat until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients, one at a time, and continue beating on medium-high speed for 5-10 minutes or until light and fluffy (I use my KitchenAid mixer-I start with the paddle, then when all the ingredients are very well mixed, I switch to the whisk attachment and let that do the rest of the work). The mixture should look like a whipped cream type frosting. I rub a little of it between my fingers to make sure the sugar has totally dissolved. Spread about 1 Tbsp. of filling on bottom half of each pastry; replace tops. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 42 pastries.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jucy Lucy!

Have you heard of the Jucy Lucy Hamburger? I admit I hadn't heard of it until yesterday, while watching the Travel channel's "Man V Food" I got a glimpse of the first Jucy Lucy.....and my mouth dropped, and it drooled and my stomach growled and it evoked all these delicious thoughts in my head.
Cheryl Bristol, daughter of Matt Bristol, the bar's founder and namesake, tells the well-known tale: "The whole story goes like this: There was a bachelor customer who used to come in every day and order a burger. One day, in 1954, he told the cook to seal up some cheese in the middle. So the cook did, and when he bit into it the hot cheese spurted out, and he wiped his mouth and said, 'Oooh, that's one juicy lucy!' They used to talk goofy like that back then." The name went up on the board as "Jucy Lucy," and they've been serving a couple hundred a week ever since.

There was NO way I could go without making one at home. It's not that hard, just imagine if you will a burger with the cheese "inside", with every bite, it oozes out and drips onto your hands. Yeah...AMAZING! So here's my own version of the Jucy Lucy. 


 Sandra's Jucy Lucy
1 lb ground beef (no leaner than 80%)  
onion flakes  
garlic powder  
black pepper 
 4 slices American cheese (NOT cheddar, it has to be american or you won't have the melty delicious gooey mess)  
4 buns (I actually had mine on toasted sliced bread)  
Your favorite condiments and toppings 
 In a big bowl, combine the beef, salt, garlic, black pepper and onion flakes. Divide into equal 8 portions.

Shape each portion into a hamburger patty. Take each slice of cheese and cut into four pieces, place in the middle of four of the patties. 


Top with another patty and crimp the edges tightly to seal. 


Cook 3 to 4 minutes on the first side. You'll notice that burger will puff up, that's fine. Turn the burger over and then gently poke the top with a toothpick or wooden skewer, so the steam can escape. 

 Cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Serve on a bun with your favorite condiments.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Stuffed Meatloaf!

I was looking around online and found a recipe called "Messy Meatloaf", it looked really good, but as always, I can't seem to leave a recipe alone without messing with it, so I tweaked it here and there and came up with not so much a loaf, but more of a flat loaf. 


1 can mushrooms 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
fresh baby spinach 
Spaghetti sauce, divided 
shredded cheddar cheese, divided 
1 lb ground turkey 
1 lb ground beef 
1 egg, lightly beaten 
½ cup Italian style bread crumbs 
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning 
1/4 tsp salt 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together turkey, beef, egg, bread crumbs, mushrooms, seasoning and salt. Spoon half of meat mixture onto a greased baking pan. Flatten and smooth out.  Top with a layer of spaghetti sauce, spinach leaves and shredded cheese. 
 Top with remaining meat, flatten again and then go around the edges an seal, pulling in the loaf away from the sides of the pan. Spread some more spaghetti sauce on top and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake for about an hour or until meat registers at 170 degrees.

Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. ENJOY!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lemon Tea Cookies!

So I got my new Farm Chicks Cookbook in the mail this afternoon and there is SO much goodness in there, but these caught my eye, maybe because I was sitting under my lemon tree reading the book. 
They are SO SO good....melt in your mouth and topped with a lemony sweet frosting. YUM! 
Credit: Farm Chicks Cookbook
1 1/2 cups all -purpose flour 
1/2 cup cornstarch 
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest 
Lemon Frosting (recipe below)  
Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, confectioner's sugar, and salt in a medium-size bowl. 032-2 Cream the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed; add the lemon juice and zest, beating until combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until well combined. Shape the dough: Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a log approximately 1/2 by 8 inches. 037 Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Bake the cookies: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each log into 1/4-inch slices; arrange on baking sheets, spacing about 1-inch apart. Bake until cookies are firm - 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies from the baking sheets to a wire rack to cool. Spread Lemon Frosting over each cookie.&nbsp



Beat 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter, and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice in a medium-size bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Use immediately. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cheesy Tuna Casserole

It's one of those dishes that everyone seems to have a different version for. I came up with my own when the kids were little and I was running late for dinner. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand that the recipe called for, so I improvised. 

2 cans of tuna, drained 1 green onion, sliced 
8 oz. pasta (I used Cellentani, but feel free to use your favorite) 
8 oz. heavy cream 
1 envelope brown gravy 
1 to 2 cups of shredded cheese 
dried parsley 
Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain. In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, green onion, cream, gravy and half of the cheese. Mix well and then add the pasta to the mixture and stir everything together. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, bake in a 375 degree oven until bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two Week Menu Plan

I do my grocery shopping on the 1st and the 15th of every month, so I shop for two weeks, it's easier for me to do it this way than shopping every single week. Here is my menu for the next two weeks......with almost all the meals from my new Gooseberry Patch Cookbook.





 { Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken Curry }


{ Bacon Chicken Alfredo}


{ Creamy Mustard Pork & Mushrooms }



{ Stroganoff Steaks }



{ Spaghetti and meatballs & Garlic bread }


 { Slow Cooked Thai Red Pork }


{ Oven Baked Sausages with fries }


{ Ranch Stew }


{ Cheesy Tuna Pasta Bake }



{ Shrimp Stir Fry }


{ Chicken, Mushroom, Broccoli & Rice Casserole }


{ Grilled Steaks w/ baked potatoes }


{ Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf }


{ Roast Chicken and potatoes }


{ Salisbury Steak w/ mushroom gravy }

Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken Curry

We are a curry loving family, so when I found this recipe at one of my favorite blogs, I just knew I had to try it, and boy am I glad I is SO good. Go ahead and give it a try, I am sure you won't be disappointed. 

Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken Curry
2 Onions, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 TBSP Curry Powder
2 TSP Light Brown Sugar
200ml Chicken Stock
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
4 Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks
3 TBSP Cornflour
Step 1: Heat some oil in a wok, add onions and garlic and fry for 2 minutes.

Stir in curry powder and fry for further 30 seconds. Add sugar, stock and soy sauce and bring to the boil
Step 2: Toss the chicken pieces in the cornflour and lay in bottom of slow cooker, pour over sauce and cook on low for 4-6 hours
 018 029 

Step 3: Season and serve with rice.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pecan Sticky Muffins!

Here's what is for breakfast this morning, the kids absolutely love them.

Pecan Sticky Muffins 
Credit: Taste of Home
* 2 cups all-purpose flour 
* 3 teaspoons baking powder 
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
* 1/4 teaspoon salt 
* 2 eggs 
* 1 cup milk 
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
* 1/4 cup butter, melted 
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
* 1 cup chopped pecans 
 In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. 
In another bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. 
Into each greased muffin cup, spoon 1 teaspoon butter, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1 heaping tablespoon of pecans. Top each with 1/4 cup of batter. 
2009_03150022 2009_03150024 
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until muffins test done. Invert pan onto a piece of foil. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove pan. Serve warm. 
Yield: 1 dozen. 
2009_03150033 2009_03150035

Quick Beef Pot Pies!

One thing my family loves is pies of any kind, whether filled with a delicious sweet filling or a savory one. This is the way I whip up a super fast Beef Pie, individually wrapped in flaky dough for each member of the family and filled with leftover beef stew. can also use your favorite canned stew, like Dinty Moore or one of the others. I had some leftover stew in the fridge and a box of pie pastry which I needed to use up, so this became dinner. 


 Quick Beef Pot Pies!
1 package Pillsbury ready-made pie dough (2 crusts) 
Leftover stew 
Divide each pie roll in half....spoon about 1/2 cup of stew (just eyeball if you need more or less) into the middle, pinch dough together all around the seams to close well. 
Make a slit in the middle and place on a baking sheet. 
Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until pastry is nice and brown. You will have some of the gravy overflowing and running out of the pie crust but that is just fine. As a matter of fact, we LOVE it that way. Enjoy!  
Other fillings to try: Leftover chicken stew Curry Pie (brown some ground beef with a little bit of finely chopped onion, garlic, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of curry powder) - SO SO GOOD

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Chicken Chow Mein!

I've been craving Chinese food and for some reason the Chinese restaurant on base is not open, so I figured I may as well make it myself. It takes a little bit of prep time and it's not one of those super quick dishes to prepare, but it's worth it. 

I usually make it on the weekends when the hubby is home so he can go off and play with the kids and I can take my time fixing dinner. Enjoy!  


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 7 to 8 ounces each  
1 tablespoon oyster sauce 
1 teaspoon soy sauce 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1 small piece (less than 1 teaspoon) cornstarch  
1/4 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth 
1 tablespoon oyster sauce 
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
4 tablespoons water 
1/2 pound dry wonton noodles 
2 medium ribs celery 
1 pound bok choy or broccoli 
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms ( I used a small can) 
1 red bell pepper 
1/2 red onion 
1 green onion (scallion, spring onion) 
Vegetable oil for frying and stir-frying, as needed 
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds ( I didn't use the sesame seeds) 
Cut the chicken into thin strips. Add the marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. The following 3 steps can be completed while the chicken is marinating: 
To prepare the sauce, in a small bowl dissolve the 1 tablespoon cornstarch with the 4 tablespoons water. Whisk the water or chicken broth with the oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper and cornstarch and water mixture and set aside. Soften the noodles by placing them in boiling salted water. Plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process and drain thoroughly. Wash all the vegetables as needed. 
Cut the celery and the bok choy into 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal. If substituting broccoli for bok choy, peel the stalks until no more strings come out, and slice thinly on the diagonal. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth and slice. Cut the red bell pepper in half, remove the seeds and chut into chunks. Peel and chop the onion. Dice the green onion. 
Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the noodles. Fry in batches until golden. Remove the noodles from the pan. 
Heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and the meat. Let the meat brown briefly, then stir-fry until the redness is gone and the meat is nearly cooked through. Remove the cooked meat and onion from the pan. (TO SAVE TIME, I DIDN'T ADD THE ONIONS HERE, I JUST ADDED THEM IN WITH THE REST OF THE VEGGIES) 
Cook the rest of the vegetables separately, except for the green onion, seasoning each with a bit of salt while stir-frying if desired. 
When cooking the bok choy or broccoli, add 1/4 cup of water and cover while cooking. Remove each of the vegetables from the pan when finished stir-frying. Add more oil as needed. Give the sauce a quick restir. Add all the ingredients back into the wok, making a "well" in the middle if the wok for the sauce. 
Add the sauce, stirring quickly to thicken. Mix everything together. Stir in the green onions. Pour the cooked vegetable and sauce mixture on top of the noodles. Garnish the chow mein with the toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot. 

Lemon Drizzle Cake!

I have lemons coming out the wazoo and there is only so much lemonade and lemon bars etc that a person can have. So I went into my recipes and got out this one, which is actually from Tana Ramsay, Chef Gordon Ramsay's wife. 

I've been wanting to try it forever, but hadn't yet because I honestly did not have the patience to convert all the measurements to US metric. But I did, and am SO glad I did because one bite of this amazing cake and you will NEVER make another one. 


EDIT: Some of you asked what Caster Sugar in the States, caster sugar is powdered sugar....sorry I should have stated that when I first posted the recipe, but thank you for asking me about it. I've added that little note in :)
1 cup unsalted butter , softened 
2 1/4 cups caster sugar (Powdered sugar) 
4 eggs finely grated zest 
1 lemon 
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour 
For the drizzle: 
juice 1⁄2 lemon 
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons caster sugar (Powdered sugar) 
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. 
 Sift in the flour, then add the lemon zest and mix until well combined. 
2009_03070011 2009_03070013 
Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper (I used wax paper), then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon. 
Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the lemon juice and sugar to make the drizzle. 
Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle - the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping. 
Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve. Will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. I like to sprinkle powdered sugar on mine!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Angel Hair Pasta with Crab

Quick way to throw together some pasta and still produce an amazing dish. So good! 



1/2 package (8 oz) angel hair pasta 
2 tablespoons butter 
olive oil 
1/2 cup sliced green onions 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained 
1/4 cup dry white wine 
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
1/2 pound cooked flaked crab meat 
1/4 cup chopped parsley (I used dried, about 2 tablespoons) 
Salt and pepper to taste 
Cook onion, garlic, tomatoes in butter and oil until soft. 
Add wine, simmer 2 minutes. 
Add lemon and Crab turn to warm. 
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, toss with sauce. Garnish with parsley. 

Monday, March 02, 2009

Great Shake!

Jasmine brought home this recipe from school and this weekend we tried it. It was REALLY good, so this one comes courtesy of Jasmine for all the kiddies at home. 

Here's the recipe: 
You will need: 
A blender 
2 peeled and cut bananas 
1/2 cup chocolate milk 
2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and peanut butter. 
Blend ingredients until smooth.  ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Angel Food Cake Roll

Light, fluffy with a strawberry whipped cream filling. It's PERFECT for the warmer weather we're having. Some quick notes about this recipe....I followed the directions of the cake box as I always do, but when it baked it completely oozed out the sides and was really thick. 

 I think next time I'll use just half of the cake batter. 


Credit: Taste of Home Magazine 
1 package (16 ounces) angel food cake mix 
5 teaspoons confectioners' sugar 
1 carton (8 ounces) reduced-fat strawberry yogurt 
1 package (1 ounce) instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix 
3 drops red food coloring, optional 
2 cups reduced-fat whipped topping 
Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper. Prepare cake according to package directions. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. 
Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up jelly-roll style in the towel, starting with a short side. Cool on a wire rack. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, pudding mix and food coloring if desired. 
Fold in whipped topping. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly over cake to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up. Cover and freeze. 
Remove from freezer 30 minutes before slicing.