Sunday, November 30, 2008

TWD: Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

I had some leftover crust from the banana cream pie (I will post the recipe for this later in the week) that I made for Thanksgiving so I decided to make two small pie shells and stick them in the fridge for later. I knew that I needed to make the twofer pie but when it came time to make it I decided that I just wanted pecan pie. So I decided just to use the pecan pie part of the recipe minus the cinnamon. I'm not sure if this counts or not but that's ok. The amount the recipe made was just enough for my two little pies.

Good for Almost Anything Pie Dough
Makes a 9-inch single crust

1 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) very cold or frozen unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons very cold or frozen vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water

Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter and shortening until the flour mixture resembles course crumbles. It's ok the have larger and smaller pieces. You can also do this with a food processor if you have one.

Gradually add about 3 tablespoons of water to the flour mixture. If the dough doesn't look moist enough add more water until the dough will stick together when pinched. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. You will need to refrigerate it for at least an hour before you can roll it out.

Once refrigerated roll out your dough to your desired thickness on a lightly floured surface. Place in your pie pan and refrigerate until ready to use.

Pecan Pie

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves or pieces

Preheat oven the 450 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, with a whisk, beat all of the ingredients except the pecans together until smooth.

Sprinkle the chilled pie crust with the pecans. I used about 1/2 cup in each pie. Pour the filling mixture over the pecans. Use your finger to poke down any pecans that float to the top and aren't covered with the filling.

Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and bake the pie for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until the center is set. If your pie starts getting too brown then cover it with foil until it's finished baking.

Allow pie to cool and enjoy! Check out what other bakers have done this week.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hot Sweet Onion Dip

I saw this recipe over at Closet Cooking and knew I had to make it. I had a few people over last weekend and knew this would be perfect to make for that. It was really simple to put together and everyone loved it! I served the dip with some bread that I grill and then rubbed with a clove of garlic. There were only 4 of us and by the end of the night it was almost gone. It was that good. I doubled the recipe because I knew that one recipe wouldn't have been enough. I will be making this again really soon.

Hot Sweet Onion Dip
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix everything together and place it in a baking dish.

Bake for 50-75 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

7 Layer Dip

Remember the guacamole I made the other day? Well I really had a craving for 7 layer dip so that's what it was destined for. You can use whatever brands you like for this. You can make it slightly healthier if you use low-fat or non-fat items. You could use ground turkey instead of ground beef or you could leave the meat out all togehter.

It's simple to put together. I you need to do is layer it in a dish or in my case I used my mini triffle bowls. I found this better than making one whole one because if there's something that someone doesn't like you can leave it out and they can have their own individual dip. Plus the bowls are so cute so I love using them when I can.

There's not really a recipe with specific measurements. I just used what I had on hand. Sorry about the lack of pictures but the camera was dieing. You can layer the ingredients in whatever order you'd like, but the sour cream and cheese are on the top.

7 Layer Dip

1 can Refried beans (I used the fat free kind)
Sliced olives
Sour cream (I used low fat)
Taco meat
Shredded cheese

I layer mine with the beans on the bottom, then a layer of the taco meat and then a layer of the salsa. Then on top of that went the guacamole followed by a layer sliced olives, the sour cream and then topped off with shredded cheese.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No TWD here............

I had the good intentions of making the rice pudding this week but it just wasn't in the cards. I went to Tj's and they were all out of the arborio rice that the recipe calls for. Then I went to another store and it was $9 for a small container!! I'm sorry but I couldn't justify spending that much on rice. I thought that rice is supposed to be cheap??

Anyways go check out what other bakers have done with rice pudding this week. Hopefully I will be back next week with the Thanksgiving twofer pie.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Remember that lime I was talking about the other day? Well it was destined for this guacamole. I say was because when I sliced it open to juice it I discovered that it was bone dry! I couldn't even get one drop of juice out if it!!! Good thing I still had lemons from TJ's so I just used that instead.

I picked up a guacamole kit at TJ's when I was there. It was cheaper than getting the pre-made stuff so I decided to get it. I love the kit because it includes everything that you need to make really yummy guacamole (with the exception of the little lime incident). This was really easy to put together because all you need to do is chop everything and juice the lime (or lemon in my case).


2 Haas avocados
1 Roma tomato
2 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
1 jalapeno
1 lime

Chop everything except the lime and mix together in a large bowl. I only added half the jalapeno because I don't like things too spicy. Make sure that you remove all the seeds and veins from the jalapeno if you don't want it too spicy. That is where most of the heat comes from. Juice the lime and add it to the guacamole. Season with salt to taste.

Chopped garlic and shallots

Chopped tomatoes and jalapeno

Chopped avacado


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Orange Yogurt Muffins

I was craving something sweet but not too sweet so I decided that orange yogurt cake sounded really good. I've made this before in loaf form but I decided that I wanted muffins this time. I love the citrus flavor that you get from all the zest.

You can add whatever kind of zest you want to this. I added lemon and lime zest. I would have added orange zest too but I didn't have any on hand. I used lemon and orange juice but didn't juice my lime because that was destined for something else but the recipe didn't need the zest so I thought why waste perfectly good zest.

Orange Yogurt Muffins

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 small container plain yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1 medium lemon, juice and zest
1 medium lime, zest
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with muffin cups or grease a 9X5 loaf pan.

Place the butter and sugar in your mixer and cream until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, vanilla, yogurt, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest and lime zest. Mix until mixed well, about 1 minute.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the mixer and mix well.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan or if using a muffin pan scoop the batter into your cups. Fill only about 3/4 of the way full. I made 12 muffins and used 2 mini spring form pans for the leftover batter. This recipe would probably make about 16 muffins. Sprinkle the tops with torbinado sugar if you are using it.

The loaf will take 55 to 60 minutes, the muffins take about 20 minutes and the mini spring form pans take about 25-30 minutes. You will know when they are done when a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pan.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pot Roast

I've never made pot roast before so I decided to cheat and buy one that was already seasoned. The man at the store that was giving samples away of this pot roast gave me a great tip. He said to cook the roast with some orange juice. I thought it sounded a little weird but decided to try it. I am so glad that I did try it. It turned out really well. So my first attempt at pot roast turned out pretty successful...........even if I did cheat a little.

Sorry about the lack of pictures for this post but I was trying to do a million things at once so I forgot to take pictures. My memory isn't as good as it used to be. This mid-twenties thing is hitting me hard!

Pot Roast

1 4 pound seasoned pot roast
Orange Juice
2 pounds of potatoes (I used medium sized red potatoes and cut them in half)
1 large onion, cut into large pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a dutch oven on the stove over medium high heat, sear the roast on all sides.

Add enough orange juice so that it comes up about half way up the meat.

Cover the dutch oven and place it in the oven. The roast will take about 3 hours to cook. I was turning the roast about every hour. When the roast is half way done (1 hour 30 minutes into cooking) add the onion. Then cook for another 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for another hour. When the roast is done remove the meat and potatoes from the pot.

If you would like a sauce for the roast you can thicken the remaining liquid in the pan. Just simply place the pot on the stove over medium heat. Allow to boil for a few minutes to let some of the liquid evaporate. Add a mixture of corn starch and water to the liquid to thicken it. (Make sure that all the corn starch is dissolved so that you won't get lumps in your sauce.)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TWD: Kugelhopf

This is my second TWD post and when I first saw this recipe I was a little hesitant to make it. I've never really worked with yeast before and was afraid that it wouldn't rise. So I was pretty sure that I was going to skip this week but then I was thinking that one of the main reasons of me joining the group was so that I would be able to bake outside my comfort zone. This was definitely outside my comfort zone so I decided to try it and see how it turned out. If you'd like the recipe then check out The All-purpose Girl.

Lets just say that I'm glad I tried this recipe. It turned out really well! Although I did deviate from the instructions a bit. What can I say, I don't follow directions well. I made mine in a jumbo muffin pan and I was able to get 6 muffins out of the recipe.

I used dried cranberries (I will be using more next time because as you can see below there weren't that many to be found!) instead of raisins because that's what I had and I ended up using more flour because my dough was too sticky and wasn't coming together. I also didn't let the dough rise for as long as she suggest in the book. Like I said I don't follow directions well.

Since my place is usually cold, I decided that the dough would rise better in my laundry closet. I happened to be doing laundry so the heat from the dryer really helped my dough rise. That's why I didn't let it rise for as long as called for after it came out of the fridge. It didn't need it and I didn't want to wait anymore. I guess I'm not really patient either......

Enjoy and check out what other bakers have done this week!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

I didn't know what I was going to do with the leftover ricotta that I had from my lasagna. But thankfully I found a recipe for lemon ricotta muffins at Food Gal that sounded really good. I just picked up a bag of lemons at TJ's so this recipe was perfect to help use some of them up.

The muffins turned out really good. I sprinkled them with turbinado sugar instead of regular sugar and I'm glad I did. I loved the extra crunch that it added in addition to the almonds. I will definitely make these again if I have leftover ricotta. They were really easy to put together and I would highly recommend them. If you are worried about them tasting a lot like ricotta, don't worry. The lemon and almond flavors are the most prominent.

Lemon Ricotta Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins)

2 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 medium lemon, juice and zest
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds, for sprinkling on top
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a stand mixer, combine the sugar, butter and lemon zest until light and fluffy.

Then beat in the egg, lemon juice, ricotta and almond extract.

Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. (My mixture was pretty thick, but don't worry it will bake up fine.)

Divide batter into lined muffin tins. Sprinkle the tops with slivered almonds and turbinado sugar.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes until lightly golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool muffins and enjoy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

I love mashed potatoes! More specifically I love my mashed potatoes. I mean what's not to love about potatoes with garlic and cheese?? I used the roasted garlic I made the other day but if you don't have any you can just peel a couple of cloves and stick them in with the potatoes while they are boiling.

Generally I just add cheese and garlic to my mashed potatoes but this time I wanted to make it similar to a baked potato. I added sour cream and bacon bits and I think it turned out really good. No gravy is needed for these mashed potatoes. They are perfect just the way they are.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

7 medium sized potatoes (I used half red and half yukon gold because that's what I had)
1/2 cup milk (If the potatoes are too dry then add more until you get a desired consistency)
2 tablespoons butter
6 cloves roasted garlic or 3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar
Seasoning salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup bacon bits

Cube the potatoes and boil them in a pot of water over medium high until they are tender. I don't peel my potatoes but you can if you don't like the skin. I cut mine into small cubes so that they take less time to cook. You can tell that they are tender when you can poke them with a knife or fork and there is no resistance.

When the potatoes are done drain off all the water and return the pot to the stove. Lower the heat to low and add the butter, milk and roasted garlic. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until you get your desired consistency. I'm ok with a few lumps in my potatoes. I think it gives it more texture.

Add the sour cream and mix well. Then add the cheese and mix until it is completely melted. Add the seasoning salt and pepper to taste. You can now mix in the bacon bits or you can sprinkle it on top. I chose to sprinkle it on top because I like the contrast of the crunchy bacon and creamy potatoes.

Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TWD: Rugelach

This is my very first Tuesdays with Dorie post. I've been going back and fourth about whether I wanted to join or not. I got the book and was still debating about it. But then when I found out that after the end of October they wouldn't be accepting new members, I decided that it was time to join. Just in time for one of my favorite cookies ever!

This week's pick was made by Grace from Piggy's Cooking Journal. If you want the full recipe go visit Grace. What a great pick! I haven't made these cookies in a while and it was nice to revisit them. I left out the chocolate and dried fruit because I prefer them with just the jam and nuts. These turned out really good. Maybe even better than when I had made them before. It might have to do with the fact that this time I sprinkled them with turbinado sugar..........

If you've never made these before I would highly recommend them! They aren't as difficult to make as they seem. I usually like to make the dough the day before because it needs to chill. I just find it easier rather than having to wait a few hours for the dough to harden up. I decided to double the dough because I love them that much!

I used raspberry jam, toasted pecans and cinnamon sugar for the filling. I always have a jar of cinnamon sugar on hand. I never buy the pre-made kind because it's so simple to make yourself and much cheaper. I like having the cinnamon sugar in a spice jar because it makes it so much easier to sprinkle it on whatever you need.
The dough is really simple to make. All you need is three ingredients!

Just mix together the butter and cream cheese.

Then add your flour.

Mix until completely incorporated.

Divide into 3 pieces and wrap in plastic wrap.

Place in the fridge 2 hours or overnight.

For the filling this is what you will need:
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.

I like to brush off any excess flour with a pastry brush.

Spread on a thin layer of jam and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Sprinkle a layer of the chopped nuts.

Cut into quarters and each quarter into quarters. I've always used a pizza cutter for this. I find that it's the easiest way to cut it.
Roll from the biggest end until you get to the point.
Place the point side down on the tray.

Once you have rolled all the rugelach brush them with an egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or turbinado sugar.
Bake until golden brown. Mine took longer than the recommended time. I just left them in there until they were cooked in the middle.
Enjoy and don't forget to check out what other bakers have done!