Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Looking for a little something extra for your Halloween Party?  This one is easy to make and offers a different approach to caramel apples.

For some people, apple cider, apple pie, and caramel apples are some of the essential fall things, conjuring up memories of trips to the orchard, fall festivals, and such.  I have never been one to go out of my way for a caramel apple, finding them sticky and messy to eat.  But anything with caramel piques my interest, and this recipe for a dip really intrigued me.

In addition to the savory appetizers I served at Mr.D’s birthday party, I wanted something cold and fruit based, that children would like.  Let me tell you, this was definitely it.  Apples cut into thin wedges, arranged on a platter with this dip, some chunks of cheddar cheese, and some grapes made a perfect counterpoint to the hot and savory Salsa Wings and Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

This sweet smooth and fluffy dip is really a crowd-pleaser.  Be careful it’s so good that you won’t want to stop eating it.

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In my haste to set it out for everyone to enjoy, I forgot to take a photo of the final platter arrangement of fruit, dip, and cheese.  But what I did was set the bowl of dip in the center of a square serving platter.  In the two diagonal corners were piles of apple wedges, in another corner were the chunks of cheese, and in the fourth corner was a bunch of red grapes.  This was a pretty arrangement, with all the cool foods grouped together.

The recipe calls for 3 apples, but I cut up 6 apples, and still there was some dip leftover.  The next day, I put a small container of it and an apple in Mr. D’s lunch.  He really liked having it as a mid-day snack at work.  So this would also be good in lunch boxes for school, or as an after school snack, if you are someone looking for such ideas.

CARAMEL APPLE DIP

Yield:   2-3 cups of dipIMG_8360

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8-ounces) low fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 tsp, vanilla extract
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme
  • 3 medium eating apples
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. water

Directions:

1.  In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar,

Whip brown sugar with cream cheese.

Whip brown sugar with cream cheese.

add caramel topping and vanilla and beat until smooth;

Mix in caramel topping and vanilla.

Mix in caramel topping and vanilla.

Fold in the marshmallow creme.  This can be really sticky so I used my beater on low speed to get the marshmallow mixed in evenly.

 

Fold in marshmallow creme.

Fold in marshmallow creme.

2.  Cut apples vertically into thin wedges.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and water;  toss apples in the lemon juice mixture.  Drain.

3.  Serve apples with dip, and enjoy.

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Happy Halloween, everyone, and have a great weekend!

 

SOURCE:   Taste of Home

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Spice Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Spice Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Spice Cake with Chocolate Ganache

 

When it comes to birthday cake I like to make something a little unusual.  And I find that a cake baked in a bundt pan serves more people, so I knew from the get go that it would be a bundt cake.   A what?   A Bunnnndddttt.   Remember “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?’

I think there is something so grown up and sophisticated about bundt cakes.  I’m not sure what it is though, maybe its the lines on the outside of the cake?  Maybe its the curves?  I love a slice of bundt cake, and I love baking in my bundt pan.   Mine is enamel over metal with a non-stick coating–it’s Orange!  But you can use a tube pan if you like with the same results.

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This is a spice cake that is very moist, and I paired it with cream cheese frosting flavored with grated orange rind for the filling in the middle.  I dusted the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar, then drizzled it heavily with chocolate ganache.    I must say—-it was quite impressive!

 

My favorite spice cake is a mix from Duncan Hines, and I have no problem using a mix  when the quality and flavor is really good.

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After baking the cake in the bundt pan and letting it cool compeletely,  I split the cake in half horizontally, and removed the top half.  Then I used a can of cream cheese frosting to which I added grated orange peel and a little milk.

Orange peel added to cream cheese frosting.

Orange peel added to cream cheese frosting.

Whipping it lightly with a beater made if fluffy and creamier.  This was spread on the bottom layer of cake and the top layer put back in place.

Cream cheese frosting in the middle.

Cream cheese frosting in the middle.

Then I made the chocolate ganache and spooned it over the top.

The combined flavors of orange, and chocolate with the spice cake was complex and multi-layered.   Everyone commented on how good it was.

The recipe for the ganache is given below.

 

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Yield:   Makes about 2 cupsIMG_8392

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. corn syrup
  • 1 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 1  1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

1.  In a small saucepan over medium heat,  mix together the cream, milk, butter, vanilla and corn syrup.

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2.  When butter is melted, turn heat to low and add the chocolate.  Allow to melt into the mixture.

3.  Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar.  When smooth, spoon over the cake.  Allow to set about 15 minutes.

 

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SOURCE:  for ganache:   Taste of Home Baking

 

 

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

Believe me, I went through some major mental arguments with myself before making this dip.   Really silly isn’t it?  Why would I need to convince myself to make something so unbelievably good?

With broccoli as its primary ingredient you’d expect it to be really healthy right?   A reason to make it.

Cream cheese, sour cream, and cheddar cheese….all healthy in their own way, but collectively, that’s a lot of  fat and calories    A reason not to make it.

Serve with toasted French bread slices;   oh, oh more calories.   Do I really want to make this?

While all this was going through my mind, a little voice kept saying, ” just go for it, you know you want to.”

Well, as you might guess, the little voice won out,  and boy am I glad.   Once tasted, never forgotten!

I did make some concessions by using low-fat cream cheese, sour cream and milk.

 

BAKED BROCCOLI PARMESAN DIP

Yield:   about 4 cups Dip

Ingredients:IMG_8382

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • 8 oz. cream cheese ( I used low-fat)
  • 2  1/2 cups broccoli florets (thaw if frozen)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (used low-fat)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp. creole seasoning ( I used cajun spice)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • loaf of French bread, sliced 1/4-inch thick and toasted

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Lightly spray a shallow baking dish or casserole.

2.  Heat the olive oil, add Panko and cook, stirring till browned and toasted, about 3 minutes.  Set aside.

Melt butter and add Panko crumbs to toast them.

Melt butter and add Panko crumbs to toast them.

 

Remove when the crumbs are golden and crunchy.

Remove when the crumbs are golden and crunchy.

3.  In a bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, milk, seasonings and salt and pepper.  Mix well to blend.

 

Whip together cream cheese, sour cream, milk and seasonings.

Whip together cream cheese, sour cream, milk and seasonings.

Stir in broccoli, cheddar, and Parmesan cheeses.

Stir in cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

Stir in cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

4.  Spread into prepared pan, sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar.

Spread in baking dish,

Spread in baking dish,

 

Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake till bubbly, about 20 – 25 minutes.

5.  Sprinkle with Panko,  serve warm with sliced, toasted bread.

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

 

SOURCE:   Emeril Lagasse

Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Stop what you are doing, except for reading this post of course, because you will want to make these cookies.  Halloween is almost here and the little ghosts and gremlins will love these soft cookies, bursting with chocolate chips.

These are not all cakey-pumpkin-y blobs like some pumpkin cookies are.  These are soft, but just right.  They look like any other chocolate chip cookies, but with a mild pumpkin-spice flavor.  They are loaded with chocolate chips, and they stay soft for days (if they last that long).

I “fiddled” with my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, adding a small amount of pumpkin puree in place of some of the butter, and included a variety of spices. They turned out incredibly good.

Even folks who say they don’t like pumpkin ate these and made note of how different and good they were.  I made no mention of the pumpkin in them.  I simply smiled and said, “Yes, they are good aren’t they.”  If you love chocolate chip cookies, try this “make-over” recipe for the perfect fall cookie.

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SOFT PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Yield:   30-34 cookies

Ingredients:IMG_8352

  • 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp, salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • pinch cloves
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line two baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2.  In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.  Mix in the pumpkin and vanilla.

6 Tbsp. pumpkin added to creamed sugars and butter.

6 Tbsp. pumpkin added to creamed sugars and butter.

Add dry ingredients.

Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.

Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.

Mix well until there are no streaks in the batter.

Mix in the dry ingredients.

Mix in the dry ingredients.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Add chocolate chips and stir into dough.

Add chocolate chips and stir into dough.

Cover and chill until dough is completely chilled and firm.  (I refrigerated mine over night,  baked them the next day, and they came out fine.)

3.  Use a medium scoop to portion out the dough for uniform sized cookies.   I used a 1 tablespoon scoop.  Place the dough 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.  If desired, press additional chips into the tops of each cookie.

Scoop out dough onto cookie sheets.

Scoop out dough onto cookie sheets.

4.  Bake for 10 – 11 minutes.  Allow cookies to rest on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

They keep their shape once baked.

They keep their shape once baked.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

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Mr. D’s Birthday & Salsa Hot Wings

Salsa Hot Wings

Salsa Hot Wings

As birthdays come and go we, as a rule, don’t do much to celebrate them, but every once in a while there’s one that needs some special attention.  Mr. D. celebrated his most recent one, a number ending in O, this past weekend, so I thought it would be fun to surprise him with a party.  The surprise turned into a double whammy when we got the news that we had become grandparents with the baby being born just after midnight on 10/19,  so Mr. D. and the baby now have the same birthday.   This baby was born in N.C. so we have only seen pictures of her at this point.  I can’t wait to see and hold her!!

Trying to throw a surprise party for someone who lives in the same house with you is certainly tricky and sneaky.  I think I did very well right up until the end when he figured it out.  But it was fun and all went well.   Someone made the comment that they love to come to our house because the food is always so good.  I hope you think so too, as I plan to share  the recipes for the starred items below, and they will cover several posts this week and next.

Because folks were invited for early afternoon on Sunday, I wanted to provide foods that were substantial, but I didn’t have the luxury of time to cook a big meal, so this is how the menu evolved:

Appetizers

Salsa Hot Wings*

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip*

Apple Wedges with Caramel Dip*, Grapes and Cheeses

Entreé

A variety of Pizzas that were ordered from a local pizzeria

Spinach salad with roast peppers, and black olives

Desserts

Spice Cake with Chocolate Ganache*

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies*

Vanilla and Pumpkin Spice Ice Creams

Beverages

Apple Cider

Assorted Soft Drinks

Coffee

With the menu as an overview of what’s to come, today the recipe is for the Salsa Hot Wings.  These are not the usual Buffalo Hot Wings that many of you know and love.  I think these are easier to make and very tasty with the heat level open to your preference.  Everyone seemed to enjoy them.  I know they disappeared quickly and I had only one small piece to vouch for how good they are.  Luckily I took the photos as I was making them and the one shot of them in the serving dish just prior to serving them, else you’d be looking at an empty bowl.

Salsa Hot Wings

Salsa Hot Wings

What I like about this recipe is that the sauce is largely based on a jar of ready made salsa, so you can use your favorite kind,  mild to hot, whatever you like.  This gets mixed with some honey and some grated fresh ginger for a little “kick”, pureed in a blender till smooth, then cooked down for a while to thicken it.  Lastly a tad of fresh lime juice finishes it off.    Pour this sauce over the cooked chicken wing portions and toss to coat.  Serve with lime wedges.

Sectioning chicken wings can be a time consuming task, but I was fortunate in finding Perdue frozen wings, already sectioned, in 5-pound bags, ready to cook.  I cooked 2 bags of them and made a double recipe of the sauce.

Easy–Peasy–Delish!

SALSA HOT WINGS

Yield:  Serves 6 – 8

Salsa pureed with honey and ginger.

Salsa pureed with honey and ginger.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ( 16-oz.jar) salsa
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 3 lbs. chicken wings, split at the joint
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lime wedges for serving

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 475*F.  Line a large baking sheet with foil.

2.  Combine the salsa, honey and ginger in a blender container and puree until smooth.

3.  Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook for 15 – 20 minutes till reduced by about half.  Stir in the lime juice.

4.  Meanwhile, lay wings in a single water on baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake till golden and crisp, and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Lay wing pieces on foil-lined pan and cook till golden and crisp.

Lay wing pieces on foil-lined pan and cook till golden and crisp.

5.  Transfer to a big bowl, toss with the sauce to coat well.  Serve with lime wedges.   Smile and absorb the compliments:)

These have a very high "YUM" factor.

These have a very high “YUM” factor.

 

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart’s Everyday Foods

 

Maple-Glazed Delicata Squash

Maple- Maple-Glazed Delicata Squash


Maple-Glazed Delicata Squash

Does anyone else besides me wonder how come maple sap flows and is turned into maple syrup in the spring, but seems to team up so well with fall fruits and vegetables?   Just wondering!!

Here’s a perfect example of what I mean.   One of the early fall squashes to arrive is this delicata squash.  Its name says it all….delicate.   The outer skin is tender so there’s no need to peel it.  Plus the stripes add a colorful accent.   The flesh is a pale yellow and has a mild flavor.  However, it needs to have some enhancements to spice it up and give it some UMPH!   Maple syrup is its sole-mate.  The syrup adds just the right amount of sweetness, and sage contributes the savory note.  Together they really dress up this squash.   If you are planning to roast a cut of meat or poultry, try this squash as a side dish for a perfect pairing.

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I recently roasted a loin of pork, and made this squash casserole as a side dish.  Oven browned baby potatoes, and crisp coleslaw rounded out the meal.  Let me also state for the record that I made half the recipe (just 2 of us, you know), and used dried sage as fresh sage was not available at the time.

MAPLE-GLAZED DELICATA SQUASH

Yield:   Serves 6

Ingredients:IMG_8117

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh sage leaves,  or 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 medium (about 2.5 pounds) delicata squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1.  Prepare the squash:   trim the ends, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.  Then slice into 1-inch half moons.

Remove seeds, and slice cross-wise into half moons, or chunks.

Remove seeds, and slice cross-wise into half moons, or chunks.

2.  Preheat heat oven to 400*F.  In a small lidded pot, combine maple syrup and sage.  Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes.  Set aside, covered.

3.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss squash slices with olive oil and salt.  Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer;  bake at 400*F for 20 minutes.

Toss with olive oil and salt and bake for 20 minutes.

Toss with olive oil and salt and bake for 20 minutes.

Pour maple syrup-sage mixture evenly on top of squash.  Bake 20 minutes more until squash is browned and tender, stirring once or twice so all slices get glazed with the syrup.

Syrup and sage mixture.

Syrup and sage mixture.

Pour syrup mixture over squash and continue baking another 20 minutes.

Pour syrup mixture over squash and continue baking another 20 minutes.

Fragrant and golden.

Fragrant and golden.

 

Perfection!

 

SOURCE:    Family Circle Magazine.

 

Sweet Potato Spice Bread

Sweet Potato Spice Breads

Sweet Potato Spice Breads

I’ve been spending some of my time weeding out my closets, getting rid of those oldies that I no longer wear.  Every few years I “bite the bullet’ and make some hard decisions about letting go of some favorite clothes.  Even though I loved them once, some things are no longer right because of changing fashions, changing fit, or no longer appropriate.  Ba-bye, mini skirt!

In doing this, I’ve reacquainted myself with some of my fall clothes, but strangely my jeans seem to have somehow shrunken in the closet since the last time I wore them.  Do jeans shrink from neglect?  I think so!   I’ve also rediscovered my collection of scarves.  Scarves are neck warmers and are perfectly acceptable to wear in public or at home.  Once your neck gets used to the comfort of a scarf, it feels cold without one.   I think I need a few more 🙂

Speaking of comfort and wanting to feel warm,  I’m really getting into the color orange in a big way.  Orange is such a HOT color whether you wear it or eat it.  So orange colored foods are on my wanna-eat list.  There’s no use fighting it, so let’s rediscover some old things and make them new again. Like this recipe for Sweet Potato Spice bread.  It offers a familiar comfort that I’m looking for these days.  While I’ve made this recipe many times in the past, I don’t think I’ve gotten around to sharing it with you.  This time I’ve replaced the canola oil with coconut oil, swapped out the granulated sugar for honey and some molasses and for a tad of extra spiciness I added the slightest dash of black pepper for a little mystery.  I like to layer flavors in everything I make.  Little things can make a big difference.

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An added feature of this recipe is that it makes 2 mini loaves, or 1 small loaf.  Perfect for a single person or a couple.  And its also great for gift-giving.  With the holidays not too far away, this is a recipe to save for future reference.

These sweet potatoes are the first of the season, and we love them roasted, so if I’m roasting a few sweet potatoes I roast a lot.

Roast Sweet Potatoes

Roast Sweet Potatoes

They’re great for dinner with lots of butter and a bit of broccoli, they are wonderful in Sweet potato and pecan waffles, and don’t get me started on sweet potato pie.  This recipe uses only 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato, so you can easily make these loaves with just a small amount of leftover sweet potato.

What are we waiting for?   Let’s get going…..

SWEET POTATO SPICE BREAD

Yield:   2 mini loaves:  5 3/4″ x 3″

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flourIMG_8269
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. each,  cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten  ( vegans, use egg substitute)
  • 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Grease two mini loaf pans,  5 3/4″ x 3″ x 2″.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and pepper.

Don't forget that dash of black pepper!

Don’t forget that dash of black pepper!

3.  In a small bowl, combine the egg and mashed sweet potato, stirring well.  Add the honey, coconut oil, and molasses.   Whisk to incorporate.

Whisk together all the wet ingredients to blend.

Whisk together all the wet ingredients to blend.

4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring just to moisten.

Wet meets day.

Wet meets day.

Fold in the walnuts.

5.  Divide batter between two mini loaf pans, and bake at 350*F. for 25 – 30 minutes.

Divide batter between two small loaf pans.

Divide batter between two small loaf pans.

Test with a toothpick for doneness.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

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SOURCE:    This recipe is of unknown origin,  It’s an adaptation of one I’ve had forever.

 

 

Eggplant Rollatini

 

Eggplant Rollatini

Eggplant Rollatini

 

I’ve eaten eggplant rollatini at a restaurant and loved it,  but I had forgotten about it until recently when I was out and ordered it again.  I knew that I had to try to recreate it at home.  A meal this good should not be forgotten about.

Eggplant is not a vegetable that I cook a lot.  Mostly I make eggplant Parmesean with it, or add it to ratatouille. It’s not way up there on my favorites list.  But prepared in this way…I just love it because it’s crispy, and has a filling rolled up inside it.  Add a flavorful tomato sauce ( homemade marinara is best) and serve with your favorite kind of pasta.  The filling I made works very well for a meatless meal, but you could include some crumbled sausage, or ground beef with the cheese filling.  Chopped baby spinach would also make a great addition.  So here again is a recipe that offers many possibilities for changing up the ingredients to your liking.  Be Bold!   Experiment!  🙂

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Usually in preparing this dish the eggplant is breaded and pan-fried in oil till crisp tender, but in the interest of lowering the calorie content  I elected to broil the eggplant slices with equally good effect. Once baked the edges were crisp, but the centers of the slices were moist and tender.

EGGPLANT ROLLATINI

(eggplant= aubergine, melanzane)

Yield:  Serves 4

Ingredients:IMG_8052

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 egg, beaten with a little water to loosen
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 egg yolk, or use 1 Tbsp. egg beater, egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian blend seasoning
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound pasta such as angel hair, or penne,or rigatoni

Directions:

1.  Preheat the broiler.  Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Dip the eggplant slices in egg, then into the bread crumbs, coating evenly on both sides.  Lay on baking sheet(s)

Dip in egg wash, then in seasoned crumbs.

Dip in egg wash, then in seasoned crumbs.

Lay prepared slices on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Lay prepared slices on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

3.  Broil for about 4-5 minutes on each side, till nicely browned, but take care not to let them burn.  Turn over and cook another 4-5 minutes.  They should be browned but pliable, not crisp.

4.  In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, garlic, egg yolk ( or egg substitute), mozzarella cheese, and seasonings.  Divide evenly among all the slices of eggplant and spread evenly.

Divide filling among slices and roll up.

Divide filling among slices and roll up.

Starting at the narrow end of each slice, roll up tightly and place seam side down in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. A toothpick may help keep them rolled.  Pour marinara sauce over the rolls, and top with the 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

Pour marinara sauce over the rolls and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Pour marinara sauce over the rolls and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

5.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted.

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6.  While the eggplant rolls are baking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta, and cook as package directs for the type of pasta you are using.  Drain.

7.  Serve eggplant rolls and sauce over pasta.

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SOURCE:   CAROLYN’S ORIGINAL

 

 

Cookies and Cream Cookies

Cookies and Cream Cookies

Cookies and Cream Cookies

At my house we are just a little crazy for cookies and cream flavored anything:  candy bars, ice cream, milk shakes.  So when I came across this recipe for cookies and cream cookies I knew they would be a hit for sure.

They are based on a candy product by Hershey called “Cookies ‘n Creme Drops”.  They are available  in Target and other larger stores, but I also found them at my local grocery store.

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I remember back when there were Cookies in my Ice Cream!   That was back in the day….before ice cream was loaded with everything but the kitchen sink.   (Not that I’m complaining.)

These cookies are big, thick, substantial, chocolatey cookies.  Know what  Mr. D. is suggesting?   Topping one with a scoop of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.   Now why didn’t I think of that?    See, that’s why I keep him around 🙂

You’ll need three mix-ins for these cookies:  the cookies and creme drops that I’ve already mentioned,  Oreo cookies, and white chocolate chips.  You’ll also need a muffin top pan or whoopie pie pan.  I found mine on Amazon.

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COOKIES AND CREAM COOKIES

Yield:  Makes 18 to 20 large cookiesIMG_7969

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa ( or any dark cocoa)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter,
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs,
  • 1 TBSP. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Hershey’s Cookies and Creme Drops
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, reserving a few for the tops
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped Oreos

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Directions:

1.  Grease a muffin top/ whoopie pie pan with shortening.

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2.  Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

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3.  In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in the eggs one at a tine, beating until well combined.  Beat in the vanilla.

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4.  Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, beating on low.  Stir in the drops, chips, and Oreos.    The dough will be somewhat sticky.  Refrigerate it for 1 hour to make it easier to work with.

Stir in all the extra goodies.

Stir in all the extra goodies.

5.  Preheat oven to 350*F.

6.  Scoop 1/4 cup dough into each pan cavity.  Wet finger and lightly press the dough down and smooth out.  It may not cover the entire cavity of the pan; that’s ok.  Press a few of the reserved white chips onto the top of the dough. ( I forgot to do this with mine.)

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7.  Bake for 15 – 18 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 3 – 5 minutes.  Run a small spatula along the edge of the pan and lift onto a cooling rack.    Rinse the pan with cool water, regrease it, and continue baking the remainder of the batter.

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Make these.   You know you want to!!

 

SOURCE:   Cookies and Cups

Grilled Green Beans

Grilled Green Beans

Grilled Green Beans

Sometimes I wish there was a kind of Willy Wonka-style candy factory that produced chocolate covered vegetables instead of candy 🙂    OK, call me crazy, but don’t you think that sort of factory would be totally AMAZING?   Be honest now….you want it.   There’s no shame in that.

Since there’s no fantasy-land vegetable candy factory (not yet, anyway), I’ve had to settle for roasting a big ole batch of green beans with shallots and garlic and then tossing them with some soy sauce and sesame oil.  They weren’t chocolate covered, but we ate them like candy.  What’s with me going on about candy?—-enough, already.

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Haven’t you ever considered grilling green beans?   This is a fantastic approach, giving the vegetables a little smoky char.  A grill basket or similar grill-top devise exposes all the surfaces to the flame, but if you don’t have a grill basket,  grill them on a piece of heavy-duty foil.  Be sure you don’t skip the step of covering them and letting the mixture stand, so it all steams to perfect doneness during that time.

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The flavor of these beans is extraordinary. Kind of like something you expect to get in a fine restaurant.   We loved them and I think you will too. So while fresh green beans are still available at the market, give them a try.

GRILLED GREAN BEANS

Yield:   Serves 6

Ingredients:IMG_8096

  • 3 large shallots or 1 small red onion, vertically sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed ( I used a mixture of green beans and wax beans)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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Directions:

1.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2.  Place a grill basket on hot grill; preheat for 5 minutes.

3.  Place shallots, garlic, and green beans in a large bowl.  Drizzle with canola oil; toss well to coat.

Toss vegetables with olive oil.

Toss vegetables with canola oil.

Arrange mixture in hot grill basket; cover grill, and cook 7 minutes or until beans are lightly charred, tossing occasionally.

Toss occasionally for even cooking and browning.

Toss occasionally for even cooking and browning.

Place bean mixture in a large bowl; cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Add soy sauce and remaining ingredients; toss to combine.  Serve hot.

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SOURCE:   COOKING LIGHT