Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¾ cup white chocolate morsels
½ cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven 350 deg.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Mix into the creamed butter, scraping again. Stir in the white and semisweet morsels.

Bake 9-12 minutes. High altitude: Reduce sugar to ¾ cup. NOTE: It’s hard to tell when dark chocolate cookies are done. A trick is to lift the baking sheet and bang it on the oven rack; if the cookies still have a dome, leave them in; if they flatten, remove from the oven.

Morning Glory Muffins

½ cup raisins, packed
½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
1 cup fresh or canned crushed pineapple, drained
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, finely chopped
½ cup shredded coconut
About 4 large carrots, peeled and grated (2 cups)
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup oil
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all fruits, coconut, carrots, and nuts. In another large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and add to wet mixture. Stir until just blended. Stir in fruit mixture. Divide among muffin cups, filling almost to top. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Cool in pans at least 10 minutes then remove. Serve warm. NOTE: you can refrigerate batter over night to let the flavors blend. Makes 16-18 muffins

Mandarin Orange Salad

2 –20 oz cans pineapple chunks
2 – 15 oz cans mandarin oranges
5-6 firm, medium-size bananas, sliced
2 red apples, chunked
1 small package Cook & Serve tapioca pudding mix
1 small package Cook & Serve vanilla pudding mix

1. Drain pineapple and oranges, reserving juice. Add enough water to juice to make 3 cups liquid. Pour juice/water into a 3-quart saucepan. Put pineapple and oranges in a large bowl.
2. Add tapioca and vanilla pudding mixes to juice and mix well. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils and thickens. Pour over pineapple and oranges and refrigerate for several hours.
3. Add bananas and apples just before serving. Mix well. Note: May need to add more fruit for the amount of sauce. Serves 6-8.

Rachel's note: This is the salad that I made at the Family Reunion we had in Montana a few years ago.

Grammy's Sweet and Spicy Pecans

2 TB margarine
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 cups pecan halves
1 TB water

In an 8x8 glass pan, melt margarine in microwave. Add remaining ingredients; stir to coat pecans. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes or until pecans are toasted and glazed. Stir every minute or so to avoid burning. Or toast in the oven at 375 degrees, stirring occasionally. Spread on waxed paper to cool.

Decadent French Toast

2 (day-old) croissants
¼ cup cream cheese
8 fresh strawberries
3 eggs
½ cup half-and-half
3 TB sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Butter or margarine for frying
Confectioners’ sugar

Slice croissants lengthwise to make a butterfly shape. Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese on the inside of each croissant half. Slice 4 strawberries and place slices on cream cheese. Fold halves together to reform croissants. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, sugar and vanilla. Soak croissants, dipping both side in batter, but do not allow them to become soggy. In a skillet, fry croissants on both sides in butter or margarine until thoroughly cooked and golden brown. Garnish with remaining berries (sliced). Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Makes 2 servings.

Pollo Rellenos

6 split chicken breasts (1 ½ lbs)
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 TB taco seasoning mix
1 egg, beaten
1 (4 oz) can whole green chilies, cut in half lengthwise
2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into sticks
2 TB cilantro or parsley
Black pepper
Red pepper
8 oz salsa
shredded cheese and cilantro or parsley for top

Combine cornmeal and taco seasoning in shallow dish; set aside. Pound chicken flat. Place a piece of green chili on flattened chicken. Place a stick of cheese inside the chili, sprinkle with seasoning. Roll up into chicken. Dip chicken roll in egg and then the cornmeal mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Serve with salsa and cheese.

Spinah & Ricotta Puff Pie

1 lb. Spinach, stalks removed and well washed (I just use frozen, chopped spinach)
12 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 TB grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese
pinch of nutmeg
1 egg (optional)
8 oz. Ready made puff pastry (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1 egg, beaten, for brushing
salt & pepper to taste

Steam the spinach, or cook in a saucepan with just the water clinging to the leaves after washing, for about 3 minutes until wilted. Drain well.

Mix the spinach, ricotta, Parmesan or Cheddar, salt and pepper, nutmeg and egg (if using) in a bowl until evenly blended. Spoon the filling into a lightly buttered 9 inch pie plate.

Dampen the rim of the pie plate with water. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to cover the pie, trimming off the surplus. Press the pastry rim with a fork and prick the middle in several places with a fork. Brush the pastry with beaten egg. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

2 TB honey mustard, divided
12 thin slices white or egg bread, divided
4 oz sliced deli turkey breast
8 thin slices (4 oz) Swiss cheese, divided
4 oz smoked sliced deli ham, divided
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup milk
dash ground nutmeg
2-3 TB butter or margarine
Powdered Sugar
Strawberry or Raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

To assemble 3-decker sandwich, spread ½ tsp mustard over 1 side of each of 3 bread slices. Place ¼ of turkey and 1 cheese l slice over mustard on 1 bread slice. Top with second bread slice, mustard side up.

Place ¼ of ham and 1 slice cheese on top of bread. Top with remaining bread slice, mustard side down, pressing gently together. Repeat with remaining mustard, bread, turkey, cheese, & ham to make 4 sandwiches.

Combine eggs, milk & nutmeg in shallow dish or pie plate.

Melt 1 TB butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Dip both sides of each sandwich briefly in egg mixture, letting excess drip back into dish.

Fry sandwiches until brown, turning halfway through cooking. Transfer sandwiches to greased baking sheet. Bake sandwiches 5 to 7 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally; sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. Serve immediately with preserves.

Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Eggplant Soup

2 medium eggplants
2 TB vegetable oil, divided
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 cups onion, chopped
8 cups chicken stock
1 6-oz can tomato paste
¼ cup dried basil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Preheat broiler. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise and place on oiled baking sheets, skin side up. Rub skin with 1 TB oil and place under broiler. Broil until skins are charred and blistered, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool.

Peel eggplant and cut into chunks. Heat remaining TB oil in a large skillet. Add eggplant, garlic and onion. Sauté until vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes.

Place chicken stock in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add sautéed vegetables, tomato paste, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer about 15 minutes. Puree soup in batches in blender or food processor. Return soup to pot and simmer gently until heated through. Serve immediately.

Rachel's Note: Your family will never know they are eating eggplant if you don’t tell them!! Hannah, this makes a lot of soup so you will probably want to cut it in half. The leftovers will freeze well and Philip will never know he is eating leftovers a month later!

Tuna Noodle Casserole

8 oz egg noodles
8 TB butter, divided
5 TB flour
2 ½ cups milk
8 oz cream cheese
1 large can tuna (I use 2-6 oz. cans)
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz mild cheese, grated or sliced
1 ½ cups bread crumbs

Cook noodles in water until tender. Drain and set aside.

Melt 5 TB butter. Add flour and stir to form a smooth paste. Gradually add milk and stir until thickened. Add cream cheese and tuna. Stir until cheese is melted. Add seasonings.

In greased casserole dish, layer 1/2 the noodles, 1/2 the sauce, and 1/2 the grated cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Melt remaining butter. Stir in bread crumbs. Sprinkle butter crumbs over top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.

Variation: can add peas or chopped broccoli (cooked) to boost flavor and nutrition. Add chopped, hard boiled eggs.

Rachel's note: This is not your ordinary tuna casserole. My kids LOVE it and Tyler likes it too (and he HATES tuna casserole).

Three-Grain Flapjacks

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup regular rolled oats
3 TB brown sugar
1 beaten egg
1 ¾ cup milk
½ cup plain yogurt
3 TB cooking oil
½ cup dried blueberries or currants (optional)

In a large bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a blender container or food processor bowl combine oats and brown sugar. Cover and blend or process until oats are coarsely ground. Stir oat mixture into flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg, milk, yogurt, and oil. Add the egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy and thin). Let stand for 10 minutes to thicken slightly, stirring once or twice. If desired, gently fold in dried fruit.
Lightly coat a nonstick griddle or heavy skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. For each pancake, pour about ¼ cup batter onto the hot griddle or skillet. Cook over medium heat for 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until pancakes have bubbly surfaces and the edges are slightly dry. Turn pancakes; cook for 1 ½ to 2 minutes more or until golden brown. Makes 16 to 20 pancakes

Rachel's note: These are a nice alternative to regular pancakes.

Orange Dreams

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups vanilla chips
Ina mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and orange peel. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla chips. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 deg. For 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 4 ½ dozen.

Toffee-Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup margarine or butter, softened
½ cup shortening
¼ cup honey
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 pkg (12 oz) mini-semisweet chocolate chips
1 pkg (6 oz) almond brickle chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix brown sugar, margarine, shortening, honey and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and brickle chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Centers will be soft. Cool 1 to 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Yield: approx. 4 dozen cookies

Note: May need to add ¼ to ½ cup more flour to the dough.

Cranberry Hootycreek Cookies

1 cup margarine or butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together margarine or butter, sugar and brown sugar; add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until combined. Stir in oats, cranberries, white chocolate chips and pecans.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until done. Remove cookies to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before storing in an airtight container.

Rachel's note: I gave mixes for these cookies to my friends for Christmas last year. Several of them told me later that they were the best cookies they've ever had. I don't know about that, but they are really good cookies.