Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Shrimp in Garlic Cream Sauce over Penne

Where was I this afternoon? I decided I was in the mood for shrimp and pasta...so I ran to the store and picked up what I needed and ran back home to make it. I had a wonderful dinner, cleaned up the dishes and I'm back already. That's how quick and simple this dish really is. This is a keeper my friends!

Shrimp in Garlic Cream Sauce over Penne

1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
2 cups white wine or chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp peeled and de-veined with tails left on
1 1/2 to 2 pounds cooked pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (optional)

Cook pasta as directed ...just to al dente. Drain well and set aside.

 In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil and sauté garlic and shallots until translucent. Add shrimp and continue stirring until they begin to turn pink in color. Do not over cook. Remove shrimp to plate and set aside. De-glaze the pan with the wine or chicken broth and let the liquid reduce by half. Next stir in the cream and allow sauce to thicken over low heat, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste and add half the parsley. Toss the drained pasta with the garlic cream sauce and shrimp. Transfer to a serving dish, and sprinkle with remaining parsley and cheese, as garnish if desired.
 


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Pecan Pancakes

I love the Pecan Pancakes at Crackle Barrel. I love the crispy edges and that wonderful flavor of toasted pecans. I decided one day to make my own and this my friends is right on the mark for the identical recipe for Cracker Barrel Pecan Pancakes. You'll love them!

Pecan Pancakes

2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Sugar
2 cups Buttermilk
1 Egg.
1 cup Chopped Pecans

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, Add in the buttermilk and combine, Add in the egg and mix until just combined. Pour baking mix onto a hot griddle, add chopped pecans to the batter prior to flipping the pancakes. Flip the pancakes when the bottoms are golden brown. Enjoy with warm syrup.

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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing else that smells more like home than fresh cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. Add a little mix of chocolate and fresh brewed coffee and you have yourself the warm sweet fragrance of home! A fragrance that always brings back good memories of my childhood. I should market this stuff! My house smells wonderful this morning!

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/...
2 tsp)
1-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
1.5 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
7 cups all-purpose flour

FILLING:                                                                      


3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/8 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

GLAZE:

1.5 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand 5 minutes. Add the milk, butter, eggs, honey, salt and 1.5 cups flour; beat on low for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a large greased bowl; turning once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide into two pieces. Roll each into a 14-in. x 8-in. rectangle; spread with butter. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 in. of edges and press into dough.
 
 Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut each into 12 slices. Place cut side down in four greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dishes. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.

For glaze, in a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over rolls.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easy Honey Glazed Boneless Ham

Here's a super easy recipe for your Easter ham this year. Served beside those Scalloped Sweet potatoes and Apples I posted earlier today.

Easy Honey Glazed Boneless Ham

1 (5-6 lb.) Boneless cooked ham
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pineapple juice

 In small bowl, mix all ingredients with whisk until well blended. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Score a diamond pattern in the meat's surface and brush on a light coating of glaze. Use a sharp knife to make diagonal cuts about 1 inch apart on the ham. Wrap ham in heavy duty aluminum foil and place in roasting pan. Pour about an inch or two of water all around the base of the wrapped ham and bake for the first 90 minutes. Unwrap and brush glaze over ham twice during last 30 minutes of baking. 






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Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples


This is a side dish that my Mom made often with pork roast or pork chops and usually always with Ham at Easter. The combination of baked sweet potatoes and apples is so good! Now when I have time I make my Mom's exact recipe....but I have been known to take some shortcuts now and then. So I put both the long and short cut version up for you....both are equally as good.

 

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
and Apples

8 medium sweet potatoes, cooked until just tender
4 medium Gala or Fuji apples, sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup pecans, halves or pieces (optional)

Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high until just tender. Or you can pierce them and boil them whole. When cool enough to handle, peel sweet potatoes and cut in lengthwise slices about 1/2" thick.

Arrange layers of potato, apple slices and pecans (if using) in a greased baking dish. Melt the butter, salt, and nutmeg together and add the maple syrup.
Pour over layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples (Shortcut)     
                
8 medium sweet potatoes, cooked until just tender
1 21 ounce can apple pie filling
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, mix together cooked sweet potatoes, apple pie filling, brown sugar and cinnamon. Transfer to a medium microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high 5 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and bubbly.

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Southern "Soup Beans" and Cornbread

I got up early this morning to put on a big pot of beans, just like my Mom used to do. They were our special meal and I still love them today. She would go out to her garden and pull up some spring onions and make a big cast iron skillet of cornbread to go with them. My Mom called them Soup beans. Soup beans is a term common in the Southern United States, particularly the regions around the Appa
lachian Mountains. It refers to pinto or other brown dried beans cooked with pork as flavoring. They are considered a main course in the south and in Appalachia where food was scarce during the winter, these beans were a staple food. I cook mine with ham hocks, bacon or "fat back" as my Mom used to refer to it. I also mix my beans ....a 1/2 bag of Pintos and a 1/2 bag of red kidney beans and the flavors are just perfect.

Southern "Soup Beans" and Cornbread

1/2 lb. pinto beans
1/2 lb. red kidney beans
6 cups water
2-3 meaty ham hocks, or a slab of fat back
4 slices of bacon, fried and chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Soak beans overnight if you have time. The next day, rinse and drain them and put them in a slow cooker with your ham hocks, bacon, onion, and garlic. Do not salt at this point or it will make your beans tough. Add in 6 cups of water or enough to just cover the beans. Cover and bring to a full boil for about 10 minutes. Then turn down the temperature and let them cook until tender–at least 3 hours in a simmering pot. Stir from time to time and add more water if necessary. You want the gravy to look thick like a stew and not thin like water.

Next, remove the ham hocks and place on a plate. Then shred the ham hocks and put them back in the pot. Add salt and pepper, and allow beans to continue to cook on low while you make your cornbread.

By the time your cornbread is ready, the bean liquid should have reduced to a thick broth. Ladle out the beans into wide shallow bowls, then top the beans with onions if desired. Serve with a big slice of corn bread.

Southern Cornbread                                                                      


1/4 cup of bacon drippings
1-1/2 cups regular yellow cornmeal (not self rising)
3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of buttermilk, more or less (see note on how to make your own buttermilk below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add the bacon drippings to a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place the skillet into the oven to melt the fat and heat the skillet. You want it very hot but not smoking.

In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the hot fat around to coat the entire skillet. Pour the fat from the skillet into the cornmeal mixture; stir. Stir in half of the buttermilk and add the egg; add more buttermilk as needed to make a thick but pourable batter. Mix the ingredients but don't beat or over mix. Pour the cornmeal mixture into the hot skillet. You should hear it sizzle when it hits the skillet. Carefully place directly into the oven and bake at 450 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes, then very carefully turn the cornbread out onto a plate or platter to preserve that nice crispy crust!
 


 Pan Version: If you prefer to make this in a pan, just grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with vegetable shortening. Mix all of the ingredients together and pour into pan. Bake as above.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Chocolate Mint Brownies

I will ask your forgiveness in advance on this one. But I do have my Chocoholics out there that need a fix now and then. This is for you my friends! Let's raise
our brownies in a toast to chocolate!

Chocolate Mint Brownies

1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 X 13-inch pan with foil or parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. I like to leave an over hang of foil on the short sides of the pan to use for handles when I want to lift out. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and salt. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring well to combine. Whisk in the vanilla and then the eggs. Blend well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Cool Completely for at least an hour and then cut into bars.

Filling
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 oz cream cheese
1/8 -1/4 teaspoon of mint extract (I use Spearmint or regular mint)
2-3 drops green food coloring if desired

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Spread on cooled brownies, top with another brownie and refrigerate 1 hour or until set.

Ganache
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/3 cups semi sweet chocolate
1/3 cup butter

Heat ingredients over medium heat stirring constantly. When chocolate is melted and everything is combined, set aside to cool about 10 minutes. When still slightly warm, pour over the brownies spreading evenly. Return the pan to the refrigerator.

To serve allow to sit at room temperature about 10-15 minutes.

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Frosted Fudge Brownies

What's better than a decadent and delightful chocolate fudge-like brownie? That's easy...a decadent and delightful chocolate fudge-like brownie with a creamy rich chocolate buttercream frosting and a cherry on top!

Frosted Fudge Brownies

1/2 cup butter, diced
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt...
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 c. unsalted butter, diced
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and then spray the paper with non-stick spray. I like to leave excess paper hanging over the ends so they are easy to lift out of the paper after baking.

Stir the butter and chocolate in a large heavy saucepan over very low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, and then the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, and salt and stir. Next add the flour a little at a time and stir to blend evenly. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake brownies about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with just a little batter attached. Remove brownies using parchment paper on ends to life and allow to cool completely on rack. Using a biscuit cutter or any large cookie cutter, press firmly into the cooled brownie.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter at room temperature
3½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy (full) cream

Using a mixer, cream butter for a few minutes on medium speed. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed and mix until the sugar and cocoa are mixed well with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

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Chocolate Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream

 
 
 
What's better than a decadent and delightful chocolate fudge-like brownie? That's easy...a decadent and delightful chocolate fudge-like brownie with white chocolate buttercream frosting and a cherry on top!  

 
 
Chocolate Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt.
3/4 cup all purpose flour
 

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and then spray the paper with non-stick spray. I like to leave excess paper hanging over the ends so they are easy to lift out of the paper after baking.

Stir the butter and chocolate in a large heavy saucepan over very low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, and then the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, and salt and stir. Next add the flour a little at a time and stir to blend evenly. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake brownies about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with just a little batter attached. Remove brownies using parchment paper on ends to life and allow to cool completely on rack. Using a biscuit cutter or any large cookie cutter, press firmly into the cooled brownie.

White Chocolate Buttercream

1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) Sugar
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
4 oz White Chocolate, chopped and melted
2 tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream

Using a mixer, first cream butter until soft and fluffy. Then mix in vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time and mix well before adding more. Next mix in the melted white until incorporated. Finally add in the cream a little at a time and mix until frosting is at your desired consistency. Using a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped or a piping bag, pipe on incing to cover brownie and add a cherry on top!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pecan Coffee Cake

For those mornings when you want something in between a big egg and bacon breakfast but a little more than yogurt...I bring you my simple pecan coffee cake to have with your tea or coffee in the mornings. Love this recipe!

Pecan Coffee Cake

Filling

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.


Cake:

1 3/4 all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened                                                  
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a rectangle cake pan or baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the 1 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl. using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter for 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar and vanilla and then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to the batter, beating on low speed, after each addition until combined. Spread 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with filling and then gently spread on the remaining cake batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and add topping and drizzle.

Topping                                                                              


1/4 cup of honey
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

 Brush honey on top of cooled cake and sprinkle with chopped nuts

Drizzle

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 to 3 Tablespoons Cinnabon Gourmet Coffee Creamer (or use milk)

 Blend sugar and milk (or creamer) until smooth and add vanilla. Add more sugar or milk until you get the right consistency for drizzling. Serve cake warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!





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