Monday, February 24, 2014

Pantry Pick of the Month- Blueberry Pie Filling/ Blueberry Turnovers

Blueberry Pie Filling was the pantry pick for this month. (It's a game I play- I reach into the pantry and grab something, then find a recipe to make with that item.)  You can imagine my delight at getting something so yummy.  I googled blueberry pie filling recipes and had dozens to choose from. . . . so hard to choose.  But since I've always wanted to try puff pastry and since my husband LOVES turnovers (you know, the ones at Arby's), I decided to try blueberry turnovers.  So glad.  So very, very glad.   These would make a great Family Home Evening treat and the kids could help.  I found several different recipes and got some good tips:
1) Refrigerate the pie filling.  If it's cold, it's less likely to leak out the sides of the turnover.
2)  Thaw the puff pastry, but don't let it get too warm.  It should be just barely thawed when you use it.
This is what the puff pastry looks like.  You can find it in the freezer section of any grocery store.  There are other brands.  The pastry sheets are slightly different sizes in the different brands.  1 box of pastry sheets makes 8 turnovers.

3) You can use any kind of pie filling (cherry, apple, blueberry, lemon, etc.)

Blueberry Turnovers 
1 box puff pastry
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 egg
About 2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Refrigerate the can of pie filling.  Thaw the puff pastry, but use when still very cold. Heat oven to 400.   Open the sheets and roll each to about 10" by 10" on a lightly floured board or sil pat.  With a pizza cutter cut the sheets into 5"x5" squares. This should make 8 squares. In the center of the squares, put about 2 Tablespoon of filling (no more!)
Beat the egg and with your finger or a pastry brush, brush egg around the edges of the squares.  Then fold the squares over into a triangle and press the two edges together, gluing with the egg wash.  Using a fork crimp the edges, then turn over and crimp the other side.  Use a spatula to put the turnover on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.  Prick the top of the turnover to allow steam to escape, then brush with the egg wash.  Repeat for all eight turnovers.  Bake in the hot oven until golden brown.  Make a glaze by mixing together the powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk to make a thin glaze.  Drizzle over the warm turnovers. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pizza Rolls for School Lunches...or Dinner

This is one of my favorite recipes for school lunches. My daughter doesn't like sandwiches, so it makes preparing a lunch for school difficult. I am always looking for new ideas. This is one of my favorites because it is pizza, in a roll. I make a batch of 36 and freeze them in a couple of gallon zip lock bags. I pull out one or two in the morning, put them in a baggie and into their lunch boxes. By the time lunch rolls around they are defrosted and ready to eat. Super simple for those busy mornings.

A friend originally made these for us years ago and when I asked her for the recipe she said, "Just use your favorite bread recipe..." And I thought, "I don't have a favorite bread recipe. That is why I was asking." But I found this recipe that I love. It is delicious just as a roll as well. But, if you have a bread recipe you like, feel free to use it instead.

Lion House Crescent Rolls...turned Pizza Roll

2 T. yeast
2 c. warm water
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. shortening, butter or margarine
2 t. salt
2/3 c. nonfat dry milk
1 egg
5-6 c. flour
melted butter or margarine

Pizza Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Favorite toppings: pepperoni, Canadian bacon etc.

Mix yeast and water and let stand 5 min. Add sugar, shortening, salt, dry milk, egg and 2 c. of flour. Beat together until smooth. Gradually add remaining flour till soft dough is formed. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; cover and let rise till double in bulk. Punch down; divide into thirds. Roll out one third of dough into circle. Spread your favorite pizza sauce on dough. I find it is easiest if I don't put any in the very center. Here is a link to homemade pizza sauce that we like. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and put on your favorite toppings. My kids like pepperoni so I do 12 slices of pepperoni, one for each roll. Cut circle into 12 pie shaped pieces. Starting at wide end, roll up each piece into crescent. Place on greased baking sheet and point on bottom. Repeat with remainder of dough. Brush tops with melted butter or margarine. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 400 degrees for 11-12 minutes. (original recipe said 15 minutes, but I have found that is a little long with my oven)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Raspberry/Blackberry Swirl Cheesecake

I. Love. Cheesecake. 
This is my favorite recipe. It is a Martha Stewart recipe (see source below).

1 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
2 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

OR 2 readymade graham cracker crusts

Combine crust ingredients and press down into spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and allow to cool. Turn oven down to 325 degrees. (I didn’t have luck with my spring form pan. Water leaked in and ruined my cheesecake, I'm sure because I did something wrong, but I just buy 2 readymade graham cracker crusts and use them instead. It doesn't look as nice, but it tastes just as delicious and is even easier!)

16 oz (2 pkg) Cream Cheese, softened or room temperature
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 Pinch Salt
4 Eggs

Cream cream cheese until smooth in either a kitchen aid or using a hand mixer. Add sugar and mix until smooth and homogonous, scrapping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber scraper if needed. Add vanilla and salt and mix until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, creaming mixture each time. Pour batter over crust and tap lightly to bring any bubbles in the mixture to the top.   

Blackberry Puree:
6-8 oz. berries
2 Tbsp. Sugar

Puree berries in blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve to remove seeds. Stir in sugar. Dollop berry puree on top of cheesecake filling and swirl in with a toothpick. Bake 60-65 min. at 325 degrees in a water bath. Allow to cool and serve chilled.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ella Lue's Chocolate Bran Muffins

These muffins are almost more of a prescription than a muffin. If you have a child (or you) that needs more fiber in your diet, these muffins are your answer.  They'll think they are just eating a treat.  They are moist and chocolatey and yummy.  RX:  Eat one a day!  Thanks to my friend Ella Lue for the great recipe!

Chocolate Bran Muffins
3 cups All- Bran or other high fiber cereal
2 1/2 cups very hot water
1-19 0z. box reduced fat brownie mix
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 package chocolate chips (optional)

Put the bran cereal in a large bowl and pour hot water over the top.  Let sit for about 15 minutes and then stir into a mush.  Add the brownie mix and baking powder.  Stir well.  Stir in the chocolate chips and put in paper-lined muffin tins.  Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Easy, No VERY easy Chicken Parmesan

My sister-in-law made this for our family reunion this year and it was delicious! So, of course, I asked for the recipe. I was super surprised at how easy it was! I like to make this when we have company because it is so easy.
Chicken Parmesan
Frozen breaded chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar Spaghetti Sauce (your favorite kind)
2 T brown sugar
Worcestershire sauce
Garlic (or garlic powder)
Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese
Pasta (I like vermicelli)

Cook chicken according to directions.
Blend diced tomatoes with spaghetti sauce until desired consistency (I like chunky ;)
Add to sauce a little brown sugar, a good squirt if Worcestershire sauce, and a little garlic. Blend again.
Place cooked chicken in 9x13 pan and pour cold sauce over, put cheese on top and bake at 350 until bubbly.
Serve over spaghetti or whatever pasta you like.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder- there's nothing better than a good bowl of clam chowder.  There's nothing worse than a bad bowl of clam chowder. This recipe was extremely popular about twenty years ago.  I remember we made a ward cookbook and about five people turned in  this recipe with only slight variations.  It really is yummy.  Try this recipe for a really good bowl!

Clam Chowder
4 cans minced clams
1 large onion (or two small), diced fine
2 cups of diced celery
4 cups of diced potatoes
Chicken stock, as needed
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups flour
2 quarts half and half ( to "lighten" the recipe, you can use part milk to make up the two quarts)
1 Tablespoon salt
Pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sugar

Drain the clam juice into a saucepan.  Add the onions, celery, and potatoes.  Add chicken stock to cover vegetables. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
In a soup pot, melt the butter and add the flour.  Whisk and whisk and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the half and half, salt, pepper, and sugar and slowly heat til bubbly.  Keep whisking and cooking for a couple of minutes.  Then add the vegetables and all the liquid.  Combine well and cook until thickened.
This makes a big pot of soup.  Half it if you don't want that much.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Malva Pudding

This a South African dessert, so you'd think I would have acquired  it from my South African turned American son-in-law.  But no, he's never even heard of it.  I guess it's from the black culture in South Africa.  When Oprah went to open her girl's school in South Africa, she had her chef- Art Smith- research a comfort food dessert to serve to the girls at Christmas time.  He found this yummy dessert.   I watched the Oprah show where he made it, so I  had to look up and try the recipe. I've made it several times since. It is a moist, yummy pudding cake.

Malva Pudding
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon apricot jam
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/3 cup milk

3/4 cup fresh cream
1/2 cup butter (1 cube)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup hot water (put in a glass cup in the microwave for a minute)
1 teaspoon vanilla.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Beat or whip the sugar and eggs until thick and lemon-colored.  Add the jam. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, and salt.  Melt the butter and add the vinegar.  Add this mixture, as well as the milk to the egg mixture, alternately with the flour mixture.  Beat well.  Pour into a 12 x 12 pan and bake for about 20 minutes.  Take it out of the oven, poke some holes in the cake, and pour the sauce over all.  Return to the oven and bake another 25 minutes.

Sauce: After you put the pudding in the oven, make the sauce by putting all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and stirring and cooking until all is melted together.  Then, as stated above, poke holes in the cake and pour it over all and put it back in the oven to complete the baking.

Though shown here with ice cream, I like it best with a bit of whipped cream on top.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What's For Dinner?- February

Here's what's cookin' at our house for dinner in the month of February.  Happy Valentine's Day!!!
Taco Soup
German Pancakes

Chicken Roll ups

Strombolli, Green Salad
Shonna's Easy Easy Chili. Corn Bread
Pork Choppese, Mashed Potatoes

Vegetarian Pizza
Chicken Pot Pie

Gyudon, Rice
Zuppa Tuscano

Thai Coconut Curry Over Rice

Chicken Tinga Tostados

Chicken in Lime Butter Sauce

Pantry Pick of the Month:  Blueberry Pie Filling/  Blueberry Turnovers
Fudgy Chocolate Silk Pie- my all-time favorite pie and Valentine's Day tradition