Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scalloped Tomatoes

I was digging through all my Mother-in-Law's old church cookbooks this past weekend and came across this recipe. The books were so old that the advertisements that local businesses could buy up were written out in pen. This particular recipe came from the 1958 edition! I changed a few things up but it came out really good and super easy!

Scalloped Tomatoes
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4 cups diced tomatoes (I used fresh and removed all seeds)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
3 pieces of wheat bread (crumbled)
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 T sugar (or splenda)
1 T basil
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together diced and sundried tomatoes and mix in salt, pepper, and basil. Place in a casserole dish.
2. In a separate dish, mix together bread crumbs, sugar, and butter. Place on top of the tomato mixture. Bake for 1 hour.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sour Cream and Onion Chicken

Yes, its called sour cream and onion chicken, yet it doesn't contain either ingredient. The filling is rich and creamy and tastes similar to sour cream and onion chips.

Sour Cream and Onion Chicken
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3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chives
1/2 stick butter, softened
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cream cheese, chives, and butter. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay flat and spread filling across chicken. Roll up chicken and place in a baking sheet. Spread any additional filling on top of the chicken. Cook for 1 hour.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies

Baking: From My Home to Yours is one of my favorite cookbooks. In fact, Dorie Greenspan and I are BFFs. If you don't believe me check this out Do you see that right below the last picture? Having Dorie comment on my blog ranks right up in great days of my life, just behind the birth of my Dyson vaccuum cleaner and my wedding day, in that order. :)

These brownies are great! Heavy on the fudginess and light on the cakiness. I think I will omit the nuts altogether next time and maybe add some white chocolate chips or Andes mints, instead.

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies
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Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the Brownies:
1/2 cup all- purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 T strong coffee
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 ounces premium- milk chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store-bought milk choc. chips
1 cup chopped nuts (your choice)

6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped, or 1 cup store- bought white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream


1. Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven, and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9-inch baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet. Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt.

2. To Make the Brownies: Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add, in the following order, the butter, the two chocolates and the coffee. Keeping the pan over low heat, warm just until the butter and chocolates are melted- you don't want the ingredients to get so hot they separate, so keep an eye on the bowl. Stir gently, and when the mixture is smooth, set it aside for 5 minutes.

3. Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Don't beat too vigorously- you don't want to add air to the batter- and don't be concerned about any graininess. Next, stir in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. You should have a smooth, glossy batter. If you're not already using a rubber spatula, switch to one now and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Finally, stir in the milk chocolate chips and the nuts. Scrape the batter into the pan.

4. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out streaked but not thickly coated. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the brownies rest undisturbed for at least 30 minutes. Invert the brownies onto the rack and let cool completely.

5. To Make the Glaze: Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds, then, using a rubber spatula, gently stir until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. ( Please see my recommended changes)

6. Hold a long metal icing spatula in one hand and the bowl of glaze in the other. Pour the glaze onto the center of the brownies and use the spatula to nudge it evenly over the surface. Don't worry if it dribbles over the edges, you can trim the sides later (or not). Refrigerate the brownies for at least 30 minutes, or until the glaze is firm.

Recommended changes: I lost a lot of my glaze when adding it to the top of brownies as instructed. Next time, I would place them back into the pan, or not take them out, and add the glaze with the brownies still in it. This would keep the glaze from oozing all over the place and making me sad. I hate sad.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Here's another idea to get rid of all those tomatoes from your garden. I love cooking with sun-dried tomatoes but I can't afford to buy them as frequently as I'd like. They take a lot of time but very little effort. I just popped those puppies in the oven and went on with my day.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes
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sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Take tomatoes, slice in half, and remove seeds . I wait until the tomatoes are already starting to prune a bit to use them. I prefer romas but any tomato will do. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay tomatoes out, cut side up. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

2. Place in oven and bake until tomatoes are shriveled and feel dry, between 6-8 hours. Store in a jar of olive oil with fresh herbs and garlic. make sure the tomatoes are completely covered with the oil.

**Oil will harden when refrigerated but when brought back to room temperature will convert back to liquid.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tomato Soup: All Grown Up

Imagine your old, regular can of Campbell's Tomato Soup. Now add some onion, tomato chunks, a little cream, and a whole lotta sherry! Voila!

This is another one of Pioneer Woman's fabulous recipes. I loved it but my husband was a bit thrown off by the sherry. Whatever, more for me. It's a great way to get rid of some of those excess tomatoes that everyone is throwing at you right now!

Sherried Tomato Soup
Source: Pioneer Woman Cooks
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6 tablespoons melted butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 46-ounce bottle or can tomato juice
2 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes (or 3 1/2-4 cups fresh, diced tomatoes)
1 to 3 tablespoons chicken base
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar (used splenda)
Pinch of salt
Black Pepper
1 cup cooking sherry
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (used light cream)
chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh basil


1. Melt butter in a stockpot and saute onions until translucent. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil and turn off heat.

2. Add in sherry and cream and stir. Add parsley and basil to taste. (I added 2 T dried parsley and 1 T. dried basil)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Iced (Kinda) Lemon Poundcake

Apparently, you can get in a lot of trouble for copying trademark recipes from well-known chains. So for the sake of me not going to jail, we will call this *Shmarbuck's Iced Lemon Poundcake.

I used to work within walking distance from a *Shmarbuck's and love, love, loved their iced lemon poundcake. Now the closest *Shmarbuck's is 30 miles away! That has to be a crime, right? Most places have these coffee shops every 50 ft and on every corner but I digress. Anyway, I've been on a bit of a lemon kick lately so I figured I'd try to find a really-similar-but-not-the-same-because-then-I'd-be-arrested recipe. Unfortunately, it was no where near the same as *Shmarbuck's but fortunately, it was still awesome!

My favorite part of *Shmarbuck's is the dense icing the sits on top. Well, this "icing" just absorbed into the cake. BUT it made it incredibly moist and lemony. Its also much more light and airy. Also, the recipe lied and said it makes one loaf pan. Well, one overflowing loaf pan and a 8x8 cake pan later I realized it must have been a misprint. Next time, (and my husband is already begging me to make it again) I will use a 9x13 and I think it will be perfect.

Iced Lemon Poundcake
Source: Kitchenlink
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Lemon Glaze-
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.

2. Beat butter in a large bowl at medium speed of an electric hand-held mixer; gradually add oil, beating until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until blended after each addition. Stir in lemon extract.

3. Pour batter into a prepared pan. Bake at 300F for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
4. Lemon Glaze: Combine glaze ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Spoon glaze over top, a little at a time. Let lemon pound cake cool completely.

*Name has been changed so I don't go to the Penn.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Beer Butt Chicken

I've been reading a ton of blogs lately of authors who have made beer butt chicken, or beer can chicken as others call it. I was feeling intrigued to give it a try. At first I didn't think there was anyway that we'd have enough propane to last three hours but fortunately, I was wrong. The final result was very tasty! I wish I would have had a meat thermometer, though, because I think I overcooked it a bit. Overall, it was much easier than expected!

I chose a recipe from allrecipes.com that had great reviews.

Beer Butt Chicken
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1 (12 fluid ounce) can beer
1 (4 pound) whole chicken

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for low heat. In a small skillet, melt 1/2 cup butter. Mix in 1 tablespoon garlic salt, 1 tablespoon paprika, salt, and pepper.

2. Discard 1/2 the beer, leaving the remainder in the can. Add remaining butter, garlic salt, paprika, and desired amount of salt and pepper to beer can. Place can on a disposable baking sheet. Set chicken on can, inserting can into the cavity of the chicken. Baste chicken with the melted, seasoned butter.

3. Place baking sheet with beer and chicken on the prepared grill. Cook over low heat for about 3 hours, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Frozen Lemon Cupcakes

These are a great refreshing treat for summer!

Frozen Lemon Cupcakes
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*Makes around 12 cupcakes

Lemon Cream
1 cup sugar
Juice and finely grated rind of one lemon
2 cups whipping cream


1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup crushed corn flakes
2 tablespoons sugar


1. Making lemon cream: combine sugar and lemon juice and rind in a large bowl. Gradually beat in cream.

2. To make the bottom crust: melt butter in a pan over low heat and stir in crushed graham crackers, corn flakes, and sugar. Remove from heat.

3. Press down crust mixture into the bottom of a silicon cupcake holder or cupcake liner. Freeze for at least 3 hours. Unmold and top with a jellied lemon slice or a small berry of some kind.