Garlicy Baked Potato Slices

Garlicy Baked Potato Slices

Garlicy Baked Potato Slices

Of all the ways that I have fixed potatoes, I think one of my favorites is baked, crispy, well-seasoned slices.  Sliced potatoes are easier to prepare than, say, cutting french fries.  I just slice them up, drizzle with a little olive oil and seasonings, bake, and they turn out great.  The thinner you slice them, the crispier they get.  Sort of like hot potato chips.

I made the batch you see here to go with oven baked fish, but they are the prefect side dish with so many things from burgers to steak, and anything in between.

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You really don’t need a recipe for these, but I wrote down some basic guidelines if you care to make them…..

GARLICY BAKED POTATO SLICES

Yield:   Makes 2 – 4 servings   I plan on 1 potato/person

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 4 whole potatoes, peeled (Russets are preferred)
  • olive oil,  about 1 Tablespoon/potato
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 – 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • mixed herbs such as Italian Blend or Fine Herbs

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Lightly spray a shallow baking sheet with sides.

2.  Slice potatoes into desired thickness.  Remember, thinner is crispier.  Cut them with a knife or use a mandoline for uniform slices.

3.  Rinse potatoes with water to remove starch.  Pat dry with paper towels.

4.  In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and seasonings of choice.   Add potato slices and stir or toss until all are evenly coated.

5.  Spread potato slices on prepared baking sheet.  Place in oven to bake, turning every 15 minutes until golden brown.  The total time will depend on how many potatoes you are cooking.  I made 2 potatoes and it took about 30 minutes for them to be done.

Serve while hot with a dipping sauce of your choice.  We like ranch dressing or Thousand Island dressing.

It’s unlikely that when you serve these, there will be any left over, but IF there are,  we like them rewarmed in a skillet with an egg broken over them.  Serve with bacon for breakfast.

Garlicy Baked Potato Slices

Garlicy Baked Potato Slices

 

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

 

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Fiesta Cookies

Fiesta Cookies

Fiesta Cookies

Which do you like better, cookies or cake?    That’s a tough one, I know.  But what if you could have both at the same time?  Sound too good to be true?    The recipe I have for you today is super simple to make from cake batter, yes, cake batter cookies.  So if you make these cookies, you’ll never have to choose again.

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It all starts with a box of cake mix.  Add a few additional ingredients that you most likely already have, toss in some sprinkles for a “funfetti effect”, bake for a mere 10-12 minutes and there they are.    I decided to call these “fiesta cookies” because they are colorful and look as if they’re ready for a party.  There’s only one thing that could make them better:  eat them with ice cream.  After I baked mine and saw how large and round they got, I thought they would work perfectly for ice cream sandwiches.  See if you don’t agree.

These make yummy ice cream sandwiches.

These make yummy ice cream sandwiches.

 

FIESTA COOKIES

Yield:  about 24 cookiesIMG_7145

Ingredients:

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1  1/4 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk the cake mix with the baking powder and sprinkles to combine (be sure to break up any lumps).

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3.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the oil with the eggs, egg yolk and vanilla to combine.

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Add the oil mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

4.  Scoop out the cookie dough using a cookie scoop measuring about 2 tablespoons, and place mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets leaving at least 3/4-inch between each cookie to allow for spreading.

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5.  Bake until surface is crackly and the cookies are slightly golden around the edges, 10 – 12 minutes.  Cool before serving.

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These cookies are perfect for ice cream sandwiches.  Just scoop some slightly softened ice cream into the center of one cookie and top with another.  Freeze the sandwiches after you’ve assembled them, just until they firm up.    OOOOOH, so good!

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SOURCE:    PureWow

Baked Gnocchi with Chicken

Baked Gnocchi with Chicken

Baked Gnocchi with Chicken

Rotisserie chickens are so useful when you want to cook a dish requiring cooked chicken.  Whenever I buy a rotisserie chicken we always have the first meal from it as you would any roast chicken with appropriate side dishes and/or salad.  But the amount of cooked chicken that is left is a sizable quantity–I can usually get two more meals from it.  (Remember there are just two of us here.)  So that gives me plenty of opportunity to search out recipes that use cooked chicken in them.

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Besides making good use of the rotisserie chicken, this recipe also includes gnocchi, those little Italian potato dumplings that I’ve already introduced you to here.  It also includes fresh baby spinach and mushrooms in a very light cream sauce. The casserole is baked and then briefly run under the broiler, so the Parmesan cheese on top gets browned and crusty. As you can see by what’s left, we loved it!

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BAKED GNOCCHI AND CHICKEN

Yield:   Makes 4 servings

Chicken, gnocchi, spinach and mushrooms in a light cream sauce with cheese.

Chicken, gnocchi, spinach and mushrooms in a light cream sauce with cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 cups whole milk ( I used 2% milk.  The added fat in the milk helps to thicken the sauce.)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat cut into small pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1  (16-oz) package potato gnocchi
  • 1  1/2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)

Directions:

1.  Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425*F.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a deep ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate, and reuse the skillet.

Browning the mushrooms.

Browning the mushrooms.

3.  Melt the butter in the skillet over low heat; add the flour and cook, whisking, 3 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and chicken broth until smooth; simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the nutmeg.

Making the sauce .

Making the sauce .

4.  Add the chicken, mushrooms, gnocchi and spinach to the sauce and stir until coated and the spinach wilts.

Add chicken and gnocchi.

Add chicken and gnocchi.

Stir in the spinach.

Stir in the spinach.

Sprinkle with the parmesan, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes.  Turn on the broiler; broil until lightly browned on top, about 3 more minutes.

The cheese topping gets browned and crispy,

The cheese topping gets browned and crispy,

Make a salad to go with it and you've got a meal.

Make a salad to go with it and you’ve got a meal.

SOURCE:   Food Network Magazine

Black Iron Skillets

Cast iron skillets in several sizes.

Cast iron skillets in several sizes.

You simply cannot cook like a chef without a seasoned, broken-in black iron skillet.  One that has been around a while is best.  In fact you need one “that’s as old as dirt”.   Iron skillets absorb heat gradually and spread it consistently so foods cook uniformly and get a nice sear when you want them to.

My grandmother used to say she “raised seven children out of her black iron skillets”.  While that may not be true literally, she certainly cooked a lot of meals using her skillets from meats (fried chicken), to side dishes (home fries) to desserts (pineapple upside down cake).  I think she cooked just about everything except soup in them.

These were my grandmother's skillets, now mine.

These were my grandmother’s skillets, now mine.

The versatility of a black iron skillet cannot be overstated.  Besides the variety of foods you can cook in it, what you cook will taste fantastic, and be good for you (true fact) because of the trace amounts of iron you’ll take into your system.

If lovingly cared for an iron skillet can last for years and years, feeding one generation of family after another.  That’s what I love about my skillets the most;  knowing they are the same ones my grandmother fed my dad, and aunts and uncles from. Now I’m feeding my family from them.

That said, a black iron skillet must first be seasoned, as a new one will stick, burn your cornbread, and give your pork chops and odd taste, causing you to be known as a well-meaning but unskilled cook.   Here’s the scoop on how to season a new skillet…..

Once you have purchased your skillet and you get it home, wash it in warm water, dry it thoroughly and rub a thin coat of vegetable oil over the entire inside surface.  Heat your oven to 325*F., put a sheet of foil on an oven rack and  put the skillet on the foil, upside down, so only the top edges touch the foil.  Let it bake for about an hour;  at the end of that time turn the oven off, but leave the skillet in the oven to cool.   When you remove the skillet from the oven it will have a shiny glaze.

Now when you are ready to cook, it will be ready to get the job done.

Never, never put your skillet in the dishwasher.  Iron skillets prefer to be wiped clean, not washed clean.  Soap or detergent will remove the seasoning, and you will need to reseason all over again.  To prevent any rust spots, pour a little vegetable oil on a paper towel and lightly go over the interior surface to create that shiny glaze.

If you have a vintage iron skillet or are looking for one, turn the skillet over and check the back for manufacturer’s marks.

Be sure to check the back of the skillet for identifying logos.

Be sure to check the back of the skillet for identifying logos.

The oldest manufacturer of black iron skillets (and most collectible) are from the Griswold Manufacturing Co. of Erie, PA.  The height of their manufacturing took place from the early 1900’s to about 1940.  Thereafter sales declined as newer cooking utensils came on the market that were more attractive to housewives.  GMC. was then bought out by the Wagner manufacturing company of Ohio.

Two of my three pans are from the Griswold Mfg. Co.  The third one is unmarked, so I do not know its origins.  The smallest of my pans shows the cross logo with the name Griswold inside the cross.  This is just one of several logos they used through their years of manufacturing.

Note cross logo with the name Griswold inside the cross.

Note cross logo with the name Griswold inside the cross.

For further information and history related to cast iron skillets go to Griswoldcookware.com.

If you are looking for a cast iron skillet that has some “history” behind it, look at antique shops or home garage/yard sales.  Antique dealers are now displaying the ones they have for sale in their stalls at antique malls.  I saw some when I was in North Carolina that were priced in the 40.00 – 65.00 dollar range.  New cast iron skillets are also selling well.  One manufacturer that I know of is the Lodge Co. which manufacturers all types of cast iron cookware from skillets to specialized pans for cornbread and scones.  Look for them in kitchenware departments of major department stores, Cabela’s Sporting Goods stores,  the gift shop at Crackerbarrel Restaurants or on line.

 

 

My Non-Cake Birthday Cake

My non-cake Birthday Cake

My non-cake Birthday Cake

Do you love cinnamon rolls, but don’t like to work with yeast dough?  I hear this from of lots of my women friends.   They love that yeasty flavor and texture of baked breads and sweet rolls, cinnamon buns included, but don’t have the time or knack for working with yeast dough.  Well here’s good news…..

These are cinnamon rolls made from dough without yeast!  In the food processor, no less.  So ease of preparation can’t be beat, and the resulting tender sweet, cinnamon rolls are luscious indeed.   The inclusion of cottage cheese and non-fat yogurt, plus a small amount of butter guarantees a tender dough.

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The back story here is that my birthday occurred this past weekend, as it does every year right around Mother’s Day, and having no-one around to bake a cake for me,  I made one for myself.  Only it wasn’t really a cake.  It was these sweet rolls.  When they are turned out of the baking pan onto a serving dish, they look like a single layer cake.  Frosted with a maple flavor glaze, they are great for breakfast, but we sampled them while still warm from the oven, and had a tiny birthday party just for me.  Ha!

(NON-YEAST) CINNAMON ROLLS

Yield:   Makes 12 rolls

Ingredients:IMG_7242

Dough:

  • 3/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using salted butter, use 1/4 tsp. salt)

Filling:IMG_7243

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Directions:

1.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine the first 5 ingredients.  Process briefly until smooth.   In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt).  Add the flour mixture to the processor bowl.  Cover and pulse to form a soft dough.

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Easy so far, right?

2.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 4 to 5 times.  It comes together and feels just right.  Now with a rolling pin, roll out to a 15″ x 12″ rectangle.

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Brush the dough with the 2 Tablespoons of melted butter to within 1/2-inch of edges.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the butter.

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3.  Preheat oven to 400*F.   Lightly spray or grease a 9-inch round baking pan.

4.   Starting from the long side, roll up the dough like a jelly roll, keeping it as tight and even as possible.  Pinch edges to seal.   Cut dough into 1 1/4-inch slices.

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Lay the slices cut-side down in the prepared pan.

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5.  Bake at 400*F. for 20 – 25 minutes.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.  Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a serving plate.

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6.  Make the glaze and drizzle over the rolls.  Don’t they look fantastic?  I dare you not to eat one right now!

Yummy cinnamon rolls, still warm from the oven.

Yummy cinnamon rolls, still warm from the oven.

 

SOURCE:   TASTE OF HOME

Pizza Puffs

Pizza Puffs

Pizza Puffs

These are little bites that contain all the flavors that you love about pizza!   I made these awesome nibbles as part of a brunch buffet and everyone loved them.  They are extremely easy to make, and you can vary what you put into them according to your taste.  Whatever you like for pizza toppings can go into these delicious little morsels.   I’m going to keep these in my file as an appetizer or a great snack when game watching, or having an outdoor barbecue. These delicious little puffs will have everyone wanting more.

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I used some crumbled pre-cooked sausage and chopped pepperoni in mine plus I added some pizza dough flavoring to the batter.  I also included shredded mozzarella cheese because, really, what is pizza without the cheese?  When you serve these you will want to have a bowl of warm marinara sauce nearby to spoon over the puffs, or for dipping.

PIZZA PUFFS

Yield:   24 mini puffs

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flourIMG_7200
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pizza seasoning (optional, but good)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 ounces, shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 2 ounces chopped pepperoni,  about 1/2 cup
  • 4 ounces italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to  375*F.  Grease 24 mini muffin cups.

2.  In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. (flour through pizza seasoning)

2.  In another small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk and egg.   Add to the dry ingredients.  Mix to incorporate, then stir in the cheese, pepperoni and sausage.

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Let stand 10 minutes.  (This is important, it’s what makes them really puff up)

3.  Stir batter again, and divide among the muffin cups.   Bake till puffed and golden, 20 – 25 minutes.

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4.  Warm the pizza sauce and serve with the puffs for dipping.

 

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It occurred to me after making these that they could be well suited to a breakfast menu by substituting bacon and chopped ham for the meats, and cheddar cheese for mozzarella.    I must try that next time I make these.

 

SOURCE:   adapted from a recipe from Little Kitchen

Southwestern Egg Casserole

Southwestern Egg Casserole

Southwestern Egg Casserole

With Mother’s Day this weekend you may be thinking about having a mid-day brunch.  Egg-based casseroles are often what anchor a brunch menu, but sometimes they can be time consuming to prepare or you don’t get the timing right so they’re hot and ready to serve when everyone is ready to eat.   It gets a little tricky there.  I’ve had that experience, so when I want to serve a large egg casserole, I like to have it prepared in advance so I can pop it in the oven at just the right time and it will be cooked and served hot when everyone is ready.

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This casserole will meet that requirement.  It can be made in parts, and the parts put together quickly just before putting it in the oven.  What you do is cook up the sausage with onion and pepper,  mix up the eggs and cream, combine the two parts and add cheese. Now, all that can be done ahead and refrigerated.  The last part involves cutting up refrigerated  biscuits, laying them in a skillet or casserole, and pouring the egg-sausage mixture over them.  Top with more grated cheese and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  Really easy and so so good.  This is a dish that can be spicy if you like it that way, or go easy on the spicy stuff to tame it down to your liking.

Mom will love this dish, especially if someone else is making it for her.   Hint, hint.  🙂

An egg casserole that Mom will love.

An egg casserole that Mom will love.

SOUTHWESTERN EGG CASSEROLE

Yield:  Servings,  8 – 10IMG_7230

Ingredients:

  • 1 package  (12-oz.) bulk chorizo or spicy pork breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped bell pepper, any color
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 2 cups shredded pepper Jack or Mexican cheese blend ( 8-oz)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (16.3-oz.)  Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated original biscuits (Pillsbury or store brand)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 375*F.  In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, cook sausage, onion and bell pepper over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.  Remove mixture from skillet; set aside.

Cooking up the sausage, onion and pepper.

Cooking up the sausage, onion and pepper.

2.  In a large bowl, beat eggs and cream.  Stir in 1 cup of cheese, the pepper flakes and sausage mixture.

Mix sausage mixture into egg and cream mixture.

Mix sausage mixture into egg and cream mixture.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits.  Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces.

Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces.

Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces.

3.  Spread oil in bottom of skillet.  Place biscuits in skillet in an even layer.  Pour egg-sausage mixture over biscuits.  Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

4.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until egg mixture is set and crust is deep golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Using the same skillet you cooked the sausage in is easy, and a black iron skillet conveys that “southwestern look”, but if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can bake it in a greased or sprayed 13 x 9-inch baking dish.  Baking time should be the same, but start checking for doneness at around 20 minutes.

Puffed and golden, smelling wonderful.

Puffed and golden, smelling wonderful.

If you’re like me, and you like to have breakfast for supper sometimes,  this is a great dish to serve.  Just add a side salad.

Breakfast for supper.

Breakfast for supper.

 

SOURCE:    Pillsbury

 

Grilled Steak and Vegetables with Lemon-Herb Butter

Grilled Steak with Vegetables and Lemon Herb Butter

Grilled Steak with Vegetables and Lemon Herb Butter

 

Spring bulbs are blooming, and flowering trees are showing their vivid display.  This is my favorite month of the year.  We can hope for a beautiful weekend for Mother’s Day.  Maybe some of you have taken the grille out of winter storage and are getting ready to use it or maybe you never but it away–like us.  We just cover it for the winter.  Or maybe you live where the grill is in use year round.  In any situation….this recipe will make you want to get grilling.  If that is not a possibility, you can make it totally indoors on the stove. Either way, it will be delicious.IMG_7199

This is a meal that takes only a short time to make it, but is really big on flavor.  It involves making a spicy sauce that bathes the vegetables and steak, then cooking them quickly on fairly high heat so that a browned exterior forms.  The final touch is the lemon-herb butter on the steak.  The recipe recommends using a beef sirloin steak, but what I used were boneless chuck steaks, that were well marbled with fat, so they were extremely tender.  Cooking it to medium-rare also kept it tender, so that it didn’t dry out.  This is definitely  a meal that men will love, even though I’m suggesting it for Mother’s Day, it would also be great for Father’s Day.    Any guy who loves to grill can easily handle making this dish.

GRILLED STEAK AND VEGETABLES WITH LEMON-HERB BUTTER

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

Have everything ready in advance.

Have everything ready in advance.

 

  • 1  1/2 pounds sirloin steak, about 1-inch thick (or other tender steak of your choice)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 2 large zucchini or yellow squash, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Slice the zucchini on the diagonal for larger slices.

Slice the zucchini on the diagonal for larger slices.

Slice the onion in thick rounds.

Slice the onion in thick rounds.

Directions:

1.  Preheat a grill (or grill pan) to medium high.  Combine the barbecue sauce, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add steak and vegetables;  toss to coat.  Let stand 5 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, mash the butter with the parsley, lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a small bowl;  set aside.

Get the herb butter ready.

Get the herb butter ready.

3.  Transfer the vegetables to the grill and cook until crisp tender and slightly charred in spots, about 8 minutes.  Set aside to keep warm.   Add the steak to the grill and cook 4 – 5 minutes per side for medium rare; remove to a cutting board and let rest.

Steaks looking wonderful on the grill.

Steaks looking wonderful on the grill.

4.  Cut the steak into 4 pieces.  Top each piece with some of the lemon-herb butter.  Serve with the grilled vegetables.

An outstanding meal; one your family will love.

An outstanding meal; one your family will love.

You will note in my photos that I also served a twice-baked potato with this meal. This was made by first baking the potatoes, then scooping out most of the insides and mashing the potato with some precooked broccoli, a little non-fat Greek yogurt, a drizzle of milk and some cheddar cheese.  Replace all that back into the potato shell and bake again until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Scoop out most of the potato, leaving a shell.

Scoop out most of the potato, leaving a shell.

Mix potato with cooked broccoli, greek yogurt, milk and cheese.

Mix potato with cooked broccoli, greek yogurt, milk and cheese.

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Garlic-Herb Cucumber Bites

Garlic Herb Cucumber Bites

Garlic Herb Cucumber Bites

This is the time of year when many springtime events take place.  It might be a bridal shower or baby shower, or even a Mother’s Day gathering taking place at mid-day when brunch would be served.  Light refreshments are welcome at these events especially if you’re “waist-watching”.

I made these little cucumber appetizers recently and they were so well received that it’s only fair that I share them with you.  I think they would be great on a buffet table to nibble on while waiting for the rest of the refreshments.  They are light -in content and in calories- so they are not too filling for what’s to follow.

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I made these without a recipe, because they are so simple, but I made an attempt to write something here for you to follow if you care to make them, too. I used Boursin cheese  because  I love it, and because it’s already perfectly seasoned.  Why put yourself through the task of starting with cream cheese and trying to achieve the perfect blend of herbs and seasonings, when this one is already done for you.  I thinned it a little with some heavy cream to get a thinner consistency that would be well suited to piping onto the cucumbers if you wanted to make them extra fancy, but all I did was put a small spoonful onto the cucumbers.

These are ridiculously easy, pretty cute and impressive too.  Nice for a party!

GARLIC HERB CUCUMBER BITES

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A two-step appetizer. Nothing could be easier.

Yield:    About 18 pieces

Ingredients:

  • 1  (5.2 oz.) package garlic herb Boursin cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 long English cucumber, peeled partially or totally, as desired

Directions:

1.  Make the filling:  Place Boursin in a small bowl.  Add in 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and stir with a fork until lightened and smooth.  If needed, sir in an additional tablespoon of cream until the mixture is a good consistency for piping.  Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip; set aside.

2.  Slice the cucumber into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Gently scoop out most of the seeds from the center of each slice, leaving a small portion to keep the filling from falling out.  I found a 1/4-teaspoon measuring spoon did the job very well, using it as you would a melon baller.  Arrange the slices on a serving platter.  Pipe or spoon a dollop of the filling onto each cucumber slice.  Serve chilled.

Kind of cute, yes?

Note:  These can be assembled and refrigerated up to 6 hours in advance of serving.

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

So many celebrations this month!  May is one of the busiest months around here.  Beginning today with Cinco de Mayo and continuing right on through Memorial Day, I have something on my calendar every weekend, sometimes more than one event, and they all involve preparation of food on my part. I just hope I can keep up with it.  If I drop out of sight for a day or two you’ll know what happened…..I fell off the edge.

So,  today Mr. D. has an office pot-luck lunch in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  His co-workers have special dishes they prepare around that theme so I’m not going to compete with them,  I’ll tackle the dessert.   What I decided on are these Dulce de Leche Brownies.  Who doesn’t like brownies?   When you add toppings like Marshmallow Creme and Dulce de Leche plus chopped pecans…..swoon!!….If I were there, I’d start with dessert, thank you.

Imagine a fudgy brownie underneath all this gooey-ness.

Imagine a fudgy brownie underneath all this gooey-ness.

I just know these are fabulous brownies, I’ve made them before this.   I couldn’t taste them, however, because  when you bake for an event, you really can’t send a pan of brownies with one corner missing….. or can you?    Anyway I hope my photos get you salivating and anxious to try these wonderful brownies.  I omitted the chopped pecans on top because of possible nut allergies among the group of people who will be eating these.

DULCE DE LECHE FLUFF BROWNIES

Yield:    42 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 0unces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

    A pan of brownies, + marshmallow creme, + dulce de leche=heaven.

    A pan of brownies, + marshmallow creme, + dulce de leche=heaven.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1  1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1  13.4- ounce can dulce de leche
  • 1  7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan cook and stir unsweetened chocolate and butter over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of pan.  Grease foil; set pan aside. I omitted this step because my brownies are going to travel in the baking pan which has a cover—-much safer for Mr. D. to carry to work.

2.  Stir sugar into chocolate mixture.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition just until combined.  Stir in vanilla.  In a small bowl stir together flour an baking soda.  Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir just until combined.  Stir in semisweet chocolate pieces.  Pour batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until ages are set and center is almost set.

3.  Meanwhile transfer dulce de leche to a small microwave-safe bowl (or leave it in its jar if that is microwaveable).  Microwave on 100 percent power about 1 minute or until softened, stirring once.

4.  Remove brownies from oven and set pan on a wire rack.  Immediately spoon marshmallow creme in mounds on top of hot brownies. (Having a glass of water handy to dip knife blade into, makes dealing with the sticky marshmallow creme a whole lot easier.)

Drop mounds of marshmallow fluff on top of warm brownies.

Drop mounds of marshmallow fluff on top of warm brownies.

Drop spoonfuls of dulce de leche between mounds of marshmallow creme.  Let stand for a few minutes to soften.  Using a table knife or narrow metal spatula, gently swirl marshmallow creme and dulce de leche together to marble.  Sprinkle with pecans,  Cool in pan on rack.

Fill in the open spaces with dulce de leche, and swirl together.

Fill in the open spaces with dulce de leche, and swirl together.

5.  Using the edges of the foil, lift uncut brownies out of pan.  Cut into brownies, wiping knife as needed between cuts.

These brownies are oowey, gooey good!

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SOURCE:   Better Homes and Gardens