Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fruit Salsa

I found a new food blog. I can't remember how I got there, but after just a few minutes I found two recipes that I had lined up to post in the near future. So instead of going to the work of making them again, taking pictures and writing about it... I'll let Our Best Bites do the work for me. If you like my blog, I really recommend pursuing their site. I've never found a food blog so similar to my own tastes. Needless to say, I'm a big fan.

Okay, first, Sweet Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips. I got the recipe from my sister-in-law Amy. We used kiwi, apples, blackberries, and strawberries. Then we used 2 Tb white sugar and 1 Tb brown sugar. As for the Cinnamon Chips, they are great. However, if you're in a hurry, just pick up some Stacy's Cinnamon Pita Chips at the grocery store and you're set. They taste great.

Toffee Apple Dip

A quick shout out to Jana S for introducing me to this sinful dip. She has a habit of pushing delicious, fattening recipes my way while she stays a size 2.

This dip is like crack. You just can't stop coming back for more. I recently served this at an event and it was by far the most requested recipe. So for all those requests, here you go:

1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 pkg. toffee bits (you can find these by the chocolate chips at the grocery store)

Combine cream cheese and sugars. Fold in most of the toffee bits and then sprinkle what's left on top. Serve with apple slices and prepare to be harassed for the recipe all night long!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chocolate Coconut Toffee Delights

I call this a conversion recipe. Previously, I was never a fan of chocolate cookies. However, when my mom came home from Australia and made these for me, I couldn't stop eating them. And neither can anyone else.

I also like it because any recipe that sticks "Delight" at the end of the title makes me smile.

1/2 c flour
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 c butter, cut in small pieces
1 12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flaked coconut
1 c English toffee baking bits (if you can't find them, you can chop up Heath or Skor bars)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; set aside. Place 1 cup of chocolate chips in microwavable bowl and melt, stirring well. Add butter to chocolate; stir until melted. Beat in brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla with wooden spoon until well blended. Beat in flour mixture until blended. Stir in coconut, toffe bits and remaining 1 cup chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Flatten with rubber spatula. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are just firm to the touch. Cool cookies on cookie sheet two minutes; slide parchment paper and cookies onto countertop. Cool completely.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

All About the Sweet Potatoes, Baby.

Do you ever create a meal just so you have an excuse to make the side dish? That's what this post is. Don't get me wrong, the chicken and the salad are great, but do yourself a favor and go straight to the sweet potatoes.


Crunch Almond Chicken

These Crunch Almond Chicken cutlets are adapted from a recipe my mom got from her friend Karen Rees - a major contributer to Delsa's popular collection of recipes.

1 c fresh bread crumbs
1 c blanched slivered (sliced works too) almonds, toasted and finely chopped
2 T chopped parsley
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
12 chicken tenderloins
1 c italian dressing

Marinate chicken in italian dressing over night or for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, almonds, parsly, ginger, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in bread crumb mixture, coating well.

Arrange chicken in a large shallow baking dish. Bake uncovered 20 minutes or until done.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

These sweet potatoes are the real reason I started blogging again. When you taste something this good, you have to share it with the world. Or cyberspace at least. What I love about this recipe is that it is savory. So often we just put some form of sugar all over sweet potatoes and call it good. I'm not opposed to that mind you, but it's nice to change it up a little.

I got this recipe from Aunt Jeanene of lemon ricotta pancake fame. She said it originally comes from Martha Stewart, but you can't find it on the web site. I've only made it a couple of times, but I've already had two people declare that this version as converted them to sweet potatoes. Try it!

1 1/2 to 2 pounds sweet potatoes
4 ounces smoked bacon, diced
2 T dark brown sugar
3 T unsalted butter, softened
2 shallots, minced
1 t minced fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
1 large egg
2 T heavy cream
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, finely grated, plus more for garnish
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet; bake until tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool slightly.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil; fit with a wire rack. Arrange bacon strips on rack and sprinkle with brown sugar. Cook until well glazed and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool slightly and roughly chop. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; saute until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add rosemary and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat, and set aside. Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out flesh, leaving about a 1/4 inch border all around potato halves; place halves on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Place potato flesh in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, reserved shallot mixture, egg, cream and Gruyere. Mix well until combined.

**Note** I don't save the skins, I just put the sweet potato mixture in a baking pan and cook it as it is.

Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip; pipe into reserved halves.

Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with Gruyere, rosemary and reserved bacon.

Serves 6

PW's Spinach Salad

I love the Pioneer Woman's spinach salad because she sautes the onions and mushrooms.