Thursday, May 28, 2009

Easy Recipe - Taco Melts

This is a super easy and fast recipe that I use often. We love tacos at our house and usually have lots of leftover taco meat, so I like having recipes that use the leftover meat. This recipe is yummy and the kids love it.

Taco Melts
1 package (1 oz) taco seasoning mix
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups Thick and Chunky salsa
1 lb lean ground beef, cooked, drained
1can (16.3 oz) refrigerated biscuits (any variety)
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Mexican cheese blend
1 cup sour cream, if desired
(You can replace the first 3 ingredients with leftover taco meat, however you prefer to make it)
1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. In medium saucepan, cook taco seasoning mix, water, 1/2 cup of the salsa and cooked ground beef until thickened.
3. Press each biscuit into 6-inch round. Fill each with taco mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese. Fold dough over filling and press to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with remaining salsa, cheese and sour cream or other toppings of your choice.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

German Chocolate Cake

If you have never tasted homemade German Chocolate Cake, than you've never really experienced it. I've never been a fan of German Chocolate Cake. The only times I have tasted it were at birthday parties and the cake came from a box or bakery. But it's my husbands favorite cake of all time, so for his birthday, I decided to try my hand at making it from scratch. Boy! Am I glad I did!! It was delicious! And there are so many different variations of the recipe that I have seen, that it will be fun to try out a few different things next time I make it. And believe me, there will be a next time! I hope you try it and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!!

German Chocolate Cake
  • 1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  • COCONUT PECAN FROSTING(recipe follows)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together cocoa and water in small bowl until smooth; set aside. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with chocolate mixture and buttermilk, beating just enough to blend. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Prepare COCONUT PECAN FROSTING; spread between layers and over top.

* To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes
1 cup chopped pecans

Stir together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and butter in medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature. About 2-2/3 cups frosting.

Help! G.I. Joe is sinking in the quicksand surrounded by fire. How will he ever escape?

Safe at last! Now.... let's devour that cake!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

Who is ready for a yummy treat? I love strawberry season! There are so many yummy strawberry desserts out there, but nothing tops the classic strawberry shortcake. This recipe is how my grandma made strawberry shortcake. For the generation that grew up with angel food cake as the basis for strawberry shortcake, it may seem a little odd. But, believe me, angel food cake is no substitute for the real thing. This is the good, old fashioned way of making the traditional and always delicious strawberry shortcake. Enjoy!

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 5 cups sliced strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pint heavy cream (plus 1-3 tbsp. sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, the 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl combine egg, sour cream, and milk. Add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork just until moistened. The mixture will be dry and crumbly.

2. Drop dough into 8 mounds onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

3. Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of the sliced strawberries and the 3 - 4 tablespoons sugar. Using a potato masher, mash berries slightly; set aside. Beat the whipping cream with sugar (to suit your taste) until thickened and peaks form. To serve, split shortcakes in half; fill with strawberry mixture and whipped cream. For best results use real whipping cream and not cool whip. Top with remaining sliced strawberries.

4. Makes 8 shortcakes

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Beef, Bean, and Cheese Burritos

I love a good burrito! And, there's nothing better than warm, cheesy, drippy, homemade ones. Try it out, it's easy, and oh so good. Plus, this burrito recipe can be made in advance without garnishes and frozen, then heated in the microwave to serve. I freeze the burritos on a cookie sheet then wrap in foil and store in food storage bags.
For really outstanding burritos, try my homemade enchilada sauce.
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried whole oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce, divided
  • 6 flour tortillas, 8-inch size
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, (I like to use a mexican mixed blend)
  • shredded lettuce
    Optional garnishes: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, sliced ripe olives
In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, and garlic until ground beef is no longer pink, stirring to break up meat. Drain well.

Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper; simmer for 5 minutes. Add refried beans and 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce. Cook until heated through; keep warm.

Wrap tortillas in foil; bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Spoon about 1/2 cup ground beef mixture on each warm tortilla. Add 2 Tbsp cheese, more or less, to the burrito. Roll tightly and place seam-side down on a shredded lettuce-lined serving platter. When all burritos are made, spoon remaining enchilada sauce over the burritos. Top with cheese and broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted and toasty. Garnish with your choice of toppings and enjoy!

Burrito recipe makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Super Easy Mini Cheesecakes

Who's ready for a treat? These mini Cheesecakes are so yummy and super quick and easy. They are perfect for a last minute dessert. I scarfed up about 5 myself, before finally packing them up and giving some to the neighbors. I didn't have any fruit for my topping, so I decided to melt some carmels and drizzle over the top. I love caramel, and while this normally would have been a phenomenal idea, the caramel was so sticky and hard that I don't recommend it, unless you are making your own. I definitely would use strawberries, or a pie fruit filling for the topping and garnish. You just can't go wrong no matter what you decide to use.

Mini Cheesecakes

12 vanilla wafers
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup white sugar
Topping of your choice Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with 12 paper baking cups. Place a vanilla wafer in each one. In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs, lemon juice, and sugar. Beat until smooth and thoroughly combined. Fill each baking cup 2/3 full with cream cheese mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on a rack. Top with fruit pie filling. Pipe whipped cream or sweetened cream cheese into a rosette on top of each cheesecake just prior to serving.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Italian Bread Bowls

I found this great bread bowl recipe on Real Mom Kitchen. I absolutely love soup in bread bowls, and nothing tops homemade bread bowls. They are so much better than store bought. Plus they are easy to make. I think a great batch of homemade chili would be divine with these!! We ate them with my Cheesy Potato Soup, and scarfed down every last bit. My bowls were slightly mis-shapen, but I think making bread is like playing the piano... The more you do it, the better you become at it. I'm still a novice, but am loving turning into a baker. ;)

Italian Bread Bowls

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer-I used my Bosch), dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed after each addition until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (you may not need to use all 7 cups, I think I used 6 1/2 cups).
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (or let knead in an electric mixer). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal (or use silpat liners or parchment paper). Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; lightly brush the loaves with half of this egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Brush with remaining egg mixture, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.