Sunday, October 30, 2011

Scary Snake Calzone

My kids and I had a great time making this... and eating it too! It was surprisingly delicious! It's a perfect Halloween dinner because it's simple, quick, and a showstopper for the kids. I found it on the Kraft website.

Snake Calzone

1 can (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza dough
½ cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup Ricotta cheese
31 slices Pepperoni, divided
1 egg white
1 drop yellow and green food coloring, divided
2 green olives
1 cup pizza sauce

Heat oven to 350. Unroll dough on slightly floured surface. Roll or flatten to 17x10 inch rectangle. Combine cheeses. Cut pepperoni slice to resemble a snake’s tongue; set aside. Arrange remaining pepperoni slices over dough rectangle, leaving a 1 inch border around all sides; top with spoonfuls of the cheese mixture. Roll up dough, jelly roll fashion, starting at one long side; pinch seams together to seal. Place, seam side down, in an “s” shape on a foil covered baking sheet.

Beat egg white and yellow food coloring lightly with a fork; brush about half over dough. Add green food coloring to remaining egg white; brush randomly over dough to resemble a snake’s splotched skin. Insert olives into one end of dough for the snake’s eyes. Add pepperoni tongue.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown. Heat pizza sauce just until warmed.
Serve calzone with pizza sauce.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who's Hungry for Worms?

This picture does not do these worms justice. For a truly creepy and haunting worm picture, head over to Mel's Kitchen where I found the recipe. She also has a nice step by step tutorial with pictures.
This was probably the biggest hit with my kids of all the fun treats I've done with them. I actually had them convinced that I was eating worms for a few minutes. It was priceless. Once they found out the worms were tasty and delicious, they devoured them. This was such a fun treat. And perfect for Halloween.
It needs time to set up, so plan ahead!

Jello Worms

1 pkg. (6 oz) purple gelatin/jello
3/4 ounce (3 envelopes) unflavored gelatin
3 cups boiling water
3/4 cup whipping cream
green food coloring, as needed
100+ plastic straws with bendable necks

Choose a container that can hold at least 4 cups of liquid. It should be completely straight all the way up or have a slightly wider top than the bottom. Try to get a container as tall as it is wide and preferably even taller, otherwise the jello won’t fill the straws high enough. Extend each of the straws and pack the straws in as tightly as you can, adding more straws as needed to get a tight fit. Make sure that each straw is flush with the bottom of the container and that the bendable neck part (even though it is completely extended) is facing down. If your container is slightly wider on top than it is on the bottom, it may help, once the straws are packed tightly in, to rubberband the top of the straws to help when pouring in the jello.

In a medium, heat safe mixing bowl, preferably with a pourable edge, stir together plain and flavored gelatin powders. Pour the boiling water over the gelatin, stirring until it is fully dissolved. Allow the gelatin to cool for about 15 minutes, until it is slightly warm but not beginning to set. Stir in the whipping cream. Stir in the green food coloring until you get the desired color. Play around with the coloring until you get it how you want it.

Place your container of straws in a larger dish to catch any possible spills. With your container of straws prepped, gently pour the jello mixture over the straws. Don’t worry as you see the jello seeping up the sides of the container. If your straws are tightly packed in and flush with the bottom, they will still fill with jello.

Chill the jello straws for at least 8 hours. When the jello is set, remove the container from the refrigerator and run the sides under warm water until you can pull the straws and jello blob out of the container. This is the messy part – gently extract each straw from the mess and holding the top of the straw tightly with one thumb and forefinger, use the other thumb and forefinger to tightly apply pressure down the entire length of the straw thereby propelling the jiggly little worm from the straw.

Place the jello worms on a baking tray lined with wax paper and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve in a chilled bowl.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bloody Slush Punch

This is one of my favorite party drinks. It's perfectly slushy and delicious. I made it for my kids and their cousins and we named it Bloody Slush Punch because, you know, it's that time of year. Spooky treats and scary eats. It involves some freezing time, but it's well worth the wait.

*Important - I made (tried to make) it blue for my sister's boy baby shower... and you'll never guess what happened. Blue plus yellow equals green. So instead of a cute blue slush punch for the baby shower, we got a creepy goblin green. Learn from my mistake!! Play around with the flavors of gelatin for color and flavor but remember the pineapple juice is yellow!

Slush Punch
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored gelatin mix
  • 1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 2 (2 liter) bottles lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverages

  1. Bring the sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin to a boil in a large saucepan; boil for 3 minutes. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Allow to cool. Divide mixture into 2 separate ziplock freezer bags and freeze overnight or for at least 6 -8 hours.
  2. Combine the contents of 1 container with 1 bottle of the lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage in a punch bowl; stir until slushy. Repeat with remaining portions as needed.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Raspberry Panna Cotta

I had a fun get together with friends and wanted a yummy special dessert. A couple of years ago on a cruise I tasted the most delicious dessert I have ever eaten and it turned out to be Raspberry Panna Cotta. When I looked it up online, it didn't seem too difficult so I decided to give it a try. It was really fun to make and pretty yummy. It definitely wasn't as good as the cruise version, but still pretty tasty. I made two batches. The first was way too strong on the honey taste so I modified it for the next batch. I used several recipes from online and combined them for my final product. I also had some cute chocolate molds for a little fancy decoration on top.

Raspberry Panna Cotta

2 tbsp cold water
1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
12 oz light raspberry yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp honey
red food coloring

Pour cold water into microwave-safe cup and sprinkle with gelatin. Wait 5 minutes, then heat in microwave for 15 seconds. Gently whisk together yogurt, cream and honey - then stir in gelatin. Add food coloring to get it the color you want.

Divide mixture among 6 small glasses or molds. Chill for at least 3 hours. Run knife around edges of cups to unmold panna cottas onto plates.

Top with fresh raspberries, whipping cream, or fancy chocolate.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Autumn Minestrone

I've had this soup recipe in my recipe box for a long time. It's the perfect way to use up all that squash and zucchini that is still sitting in my fridge. The weather finally turned chilly here and I love having soup when it's cold outside.

Autumn Minestrone

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 ounces turkey or regular bacon or ham, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup chopped carrots
2 celery stalks, chopped
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf fresh parsley
2 potatoes, peeled and diced (I leave the peels on with red potatoes)
1 zucchini, diced
1-2 yellow squash, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup to ¾ cup small pasta

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot until shimmering. Add the onion and bacon and sauté until the onion is translucent, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and stir, cooking for one minute. Add all the other ingredients except the pasta and simmer, stirring occasionally, partially covered for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the pasta and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Serve.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Brickle Bars

This is a fun spin on the classic old fashioned brickle bar. My grandma used to make these without the chocolate layer, but I pretty much need chocolate in all my desserts so I added it in. It is quite a different bar than what I normally make, but I was pleasantly surprised by the textures and flavors that combined nicely with each other.

Chocolate Peanut Brickle Bars

2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 ½ cups unsifted flour
1 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, melted
1 (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup peanut butter
2 cups chocolate chips
1 package Heath toffee bits (found by the chocolate chips) or 3 to 4 Heath bars chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375⁰F.
2. In large bowl, combine oats, flour, peanuts, sugar, baking soda and salt; stir in butter until crumbly. Reserving 1 ½ cups crumb mixture, press remainder on bottom of greased 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan. Bake 12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in small mixer bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk with peanut butter until smooth; spread evenly over prepared crust to within ¼” of the edge. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips. In medium bowl, combine reserved crumb mixture and brickle chips. Sprinkle evenly over peanut butter mixture; press down firmly.
4. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into bars.