Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Chocolate Raspberry Almond Bars

For a few weeks we were in a raspberry mode.  I believe we made three different kind of bars all having some form of raspberry.  This recipe was by far the richest tasting and it also made a ton because of the 9 by 13 inch pan.  I am thinking that maybe if we made it in a 8 x 8 the bars would be thicker and be more of a full dessert rather than just a cookie bar to grab.  I say that now because I don't think the three of us at home had the opportunity to finish the whole pan but we did put a good dent in it.  The chocolate and the almonds put it over the top with the sweetness of the coconut as a surprise addition! 

 Chocolate Raspberry Almond Bars


For the Crust:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 box yellow cake mix

For the Toppings:

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 cups sliced almonds, divided
3 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a bowl stir together melted butter and cake mix. Press into greased 9x13" pan.

On top of this crust, sprinkle 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups almonds.  Pour condensed milk evenly on top. Sprinkle with coconut.  Carefully spoon jam over the top as evenly as possible.
Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and almonds.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges lightly brown. Let cool before cutting into bars. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Potatoes Au Gratin makes an Easter Day return!

This will be a repeat recipe fo me.  I loved it the first time and so they will be my Easter Dinner potato side dish tomorrow.  We made these a few weeks back and the flavor of the fresh herbs and the melted cheese make this a very pleasing side dish. 

Hubby and I ran into a friend of ours at the mall yesterday shopping and she mentioned that she was looking to see what Easter recipes I would post.  I know I had the picture already taken from the last time we made these, so all was needed was a little time to get this up on the blog.  These postatoes will be served with a baked ham (bone in so hubby can make split pea soup after), fresh asparagus, a tomoato and cucumber salad and two choices for dessert.  Yes, you read that right...Two choices for dessert.  It only seems like a lot because we only have 6 at the table.  Hubby is in charge of dessert.  There is Ina's Chocolate Cake and an angelfood cake recipe I saw on interest that had merguine frosting. 

Here is hoping that you and your family have a Happy Easter!

Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
6-8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter, cut into 8 cubes
Spiced Cream
3 cups heavy cream
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives ( or tsp dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or ½ tsp. dried)
¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoons pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Add the "Spiced Cream" ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 5-10 minutes while you grease a 9x13 casserole dish and peel and slice potatoes into 1/8 inch slices. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl.
Spoon just enough of the herbed cream that has been simmering to cover the bottom of the casserole dish. Pour the remaining herbed cream over the potatoes and gently toss to coat.
Using a slotted spoon, layer the bottom of the casserole dish with 1/3 of the potato/onion slices (the slotted spoon will allow you to leave most of the cream in the bowl). Lightly season the layer of potatoes with freshly cracked salt and pepper (in addition to salt and pepper listed in ingredients). Layer 1 cup of the cheese, 1/2 of the bacon then top with 1/3 of remaining cream. Repeat layers.
Top the casserole with remaining potato/onion slices and pour over remaining cream. Dot the potatoes with cubed butter.
Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for one hour. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese then continue to bake, uncovered for an additional 10 minutes. Test the potatoes to make sure they are tender. Continue to cook if necessary (will depend on how thin you cut your potatoes). When potatoes are done, broil until golden brown.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Artichoke and Feta Baked Dip - just in time for the Sweet Sixteen Basketball Games!

Just in time for the NCAA Sweet Sixteen Tournaments and the many basketball parties that will be happening.  And let's not forget  the Easter dinner you have planned.  Don't you need a quick appetizer to start off your holiday festivities.  This baked dip recipe is delicious. 
I had a craving for a baked dip the other day.  Now baked dips are not one of my hubby's favorites, but he had no problem giving this one a try.  I really made it because it seems that all of the dips and snacks that come into our house lately are Jalapeno this and Spicy Buffalo Wing that and I wanted something that I liked.  This dip has flavor, but does not have you choking because it is either too spicy or too hot. Sorry hubby, but there 3 of us at home now and from time to time, buy something I like!  LOL!

Artichoke and Feta Dip

½ cup plain greek yogurt
⅔ cup  mayonaise
2 teaspoons minced garlic
8 ounces feta cheese crumbles ( you can add flavor by using a flavored crumble)
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (whole or quartered), roughly chopped
1 4-ounce can diced pimentos
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Pita or tortilla chips, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a medium casserole dish (about 2 quarts) or deep pie dish.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients except for parmesan cheese, mix well. Spread mixture in the prepared dish. Sprinkle cheese on top of mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Serve with pita chips or tortilla chips.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Oatmeal Scothies

I was sitting around late this afternoon and decided that I needed to make something sweet.  The brownie mix in the cupboard just wouldn't cut it.  So looking through our pantry I found a bag of Nestle Butterscotch chips.  There was a recipe on the back for Oatmeal Scothies that could be made into a bar cookie.  Bingo!  That was it.  I really didn't want to make just cookies because of the constant waiting for the pan to finish cooling before putting the next batch in.   A bar cookie was perfect for the amount of time I wanted to devote to my baking.  

These cookies mixed up pretty fast and I popped them into the preheated oven for approximately 16 minutes.  They came out golden brown and the butterscotch flavor was just what I needed.  And this was a perfect and quick blog post to do.  These would be great for a Easter cookie tray. Sometimes good ideas come off the back of ingredient boxes or bags.   

Nestles Oatmeal Scothies 

  • 1 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks)  butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup  packed brown sugar
  • 2 large  eggs
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange
  • 3 cups  quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.)  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels
PREHEAT oven to 375° F. 

COMBINE flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. 

BAKE for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sunday Dinner

Last Sunday was hubby's turn to make dinner.  I had to go out and check in on my mother and run a few errands for I turned the dinner plans over to him.  While I was gone he was providing transportation for our son activities of the day and running to the grocery store for our never ending grocery list. While he was there he picked up the necessary ingredients for his dinner plan.
His inspiration came from Pinterest and also thinking back to the summer grilling ideas of the past for the main entrée.  The chicken idea was very easy and the pasta side dish  was a quick and very flavorful.  Since it was a pasta dish our son loved it, minus the mushrooms. There was enough pasta left over for  refrigerator review night!


Creamy Garlic and Mushroom Pasta

8 ounces pasta (spaghetti, linguine, etc.)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon herbes de provence
1½ cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
additional ¼ cup water, broth, milk or cream (optional)
¼ cup fresh parsley (more to taste)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Set aside and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add one clove of the garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and softened. Set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and melt again over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add the flour and herbes de provence. Stir fry for a minute to cook out the flour taste. Add the milk slowly, whisking to incorporate. Let the mixture simmer until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the sauce, pasta, and mushrooms together. Add the olive oil and water as needed to keep the sauce from getting too thick. Stir in the parsley just before serving.

Grilled Chicken with Brushetta Topping

4 Thin sliced boneless Chicken Breast
1/2 cup Brushetta Topping
Penzey's Northwoods Seasonings

Season the chicken with the seasoning salt (Use the Penzey's Northwoods or your own favorite marinade seasonings or rub).  Grill chicken until done and top with a spoonful of prepared bruschetta topping.  Our local Wegmans carries the topping on the olive bar.   Other topping ideas is the olive marinade or prepared pesto.    

Monday, March 7, 2016

Chocolate Brownie Tart

Some say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.  Probably a good idea when you are newly dating and want to impress your date, but when you have been with someone for 30 plus years, you know you have captured his heart a long time ago.  This past Valentines Day I wanted to  prepare a complete dinner for the two most important men in my life - my husband and our son.  We are not ones for showering each other with flowers or extravagant gifts for Valentines Day.  A simple exchange of cards will do and a great dinner prepared at home.  

I prepared a great au gratin potato dish (to be posted later) and Ina Garten's steakhouse steaks.  To finish off the evening I made her Brownie Tart.   With only a half a cup of flour you know the dish will be rich and delicious. And this is not just a Valentines Day dessert...  Any special dinner will do.  Possibly Easter?

Chocolate Brownie Tart

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups (20 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3 extra-large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Grease and flour a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips, remove from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the walnuts. Fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed (the top may crack). The inside will still be very soft. Cool to room temperature before removing the sides of the tart pan.

Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with the heavy cream and drizzle on the tart.

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