Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pecan Tassies

I have made this recipe many, many times.  Such a great goodie to take to parties.  This is a Pampered Chef recipe.  They have alot of great simple recipes.  You can find some on their website but not all of them.  Most are published in their cookbooks.  Twice a year with each new catalogue they have a $1 cookbook that has about 15 or so recipes.

Anyway, back to the Tassies.  Little pecan pies of goodness.  This last time I substituted some of the pecans with chocolate chips for a little change.  The recipe calls for using a tart shaper which is just a small wooden tool with a nob on the end that presses the dough into the mini muffin cups to creat the tart shells.  I lost mine but I found that the handle of my wooden juicer worked pretty good.  Just look around in your drawer to find something that works or use your fingers. 

Pecan Tassies

1 stick of butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1c AP flour
2T butter, melted
3/4c brown sugar
1 egg
1t vanilla
1c chopped pecans
powdered sugar (for sprinkling on top of tarts)

Mix the stick of butter, cream cheese and flour to make the tart shells dough.  Place 1 inch balls into 24 mini muffin cups.  Dip tart shaper into flour and press dough into tart shape.  For filling, mix remaining ingredients and place about 1 tablespoon into each shell.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 mins.  Cool in pan for 3 mins then remove to cooling rack.  Once cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe

I really enjoy Greek food.  One day I would like to travel there and have the real deal.  Until then I'll keep looking for great Greek food here.  Taziki's is a well known Mediterranean Cafe here in Birmingham and I think they have a few locations outside of here.  You can view there website here

Greek Chicken Dinner for 4
The Fri-Sun special is my favorite dish of theirs.  They take Greek seasoned chicken breast and serve it on top of penne pasta coated in balsamic vinagrette.  This is on top of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, feta, and basil.  It would be such an easy thing to try at home.  The dressing is alot like Ken's Steakhouse balsamic vinagrette (which is what they use at Logan's Roadhouse) that you can get at the grocery store.

What I wanted to talk about this time is their chicken dinner for 4 to go.  This is a $20 whole chicken dinner with your choice of basmati rice or roasted potatoes, Greek salad, pita chips, and Taziki sauce.  You can only get this to go and you have to order it 24 hrs in advance.  The chicken is huge and it can easily serve 6 people.  They also do a Grilled Chicken Breast, Roasted Leg of Lamb and Pork Loin dinner to go too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hogs in a Sleeping Bag

This is a Paula Deen recipe and better than pigs in a blanket.  Her recipe calls for making these 4 inches long but I made mine 2 inches long for a finger food party.  Also I used the Cheddar Wurst sausage that Hillshire Farms makes.  This sausage comes in 5 hotdog size links so you don't end up with any curved pieces of sausage like you get with most smoked sausage.  I think this would be great with the chicken sausages you can get at Sam's too.  If you haven't tried those they are great.  I served mine with a bowl of BBQ sauce for dipping too (I like the Bullseye brand Carolina style).

Hogs in a Sleeping Bag

1pkg smoked sausage links
1 box puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
1 egg beaten

Cut sausages into 2 inch pieces.  Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half and then each half into 6 strips.  You'll end up with 12 strips per sheet.  You'll have some puff pastry leftover (I got 15s).  Wrap each piece of sausage with a strip of puff pastry and lay onto a cookie sheet, seam side down.  Brush the tops with beaten egg.  Bake at 400 for about 20 mins or until pastry is browned.

Colonial Apple Cake

This is a really great, and easy, bundt cake recipe.  It is actually the cake we used as our groom's cake in our wedding.  We had a fall wedding and it was fitting for our fall themed reception.  I had made mine for work so when I thought of taking the picture of it I had already had it wrapped in plastic wrap.  Oh well, at least I remembered to take a picture of it.  Also, the original recipe called for 1/2 c chopped dates and 1t of lemon peel that I usually end up leaving out.  I have also substituted some of the oil with applesauce to cut down on some of the fat and calories.

Colonial Apple Cake

2 3/4c AP flour
1t baking powder
1t cinnamon
3/4 t salt
1/2t baking soda
1 3/4c sugar
1c oil
2 eggs
1/4 milk
1t vanilla
2c chopped, peeled Granny smith apple
powdered sugar

Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Beat until blended, scraping the bowl down.  Add dry ingredients and beat 2 more mins, scraping the bowl down frequently.  Stir in apple and pour into a greased and floured pan.  Bake at 350 for 1 hr to 1 hr and 15 mins or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Let stand 10 mins and invert onto a serving plate.  Once cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

This was my submission for our annual cookie swap this year.  It's a recipe I found in my Kraft Food & Family magazine.  At one time it was free magazine but now I think it costs about $10 a year for about 4 issues a year.  It's always full of several easy meal ideas and coupons. 

Anyway, we have been doing our cookie swap for about 6 yrs now.  I look forward to it every year.  My friend Emily had a great cranberry and orange cookie she found on All Recipes here.  Oh, and of course I forgot to take a picture of my cookie.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

1c butter softened
2c flour
2c sugar
1/4t salt
1 1/2c light corn syrup
1 pkg Baker's semi sweet chocolate (8 squares)
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/2c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat butter, flour, 1/2c sugar, and salt.  Press onto bottom of 15x10 pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake until 20 mins until lightly browned.  Microwave corn syrup and 6 chocolate squares for about 2 1/2 mins or until chocolate is melted, stirring halfway through.  Add remaining sugar, eggs, and vanilla and mix well.  Stir in nuts and pour over crust and spread.  Bake 35 mins or until filling is firm but still slightly soft in center.  Cool completely and then melt remaining chocolate and drizzle on top.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cocina Superior

I have just gotten terrible about taking my camera to restaurants so I've decided to talk about the restaurants I've visited whether I have pictures or not!

 Tonight we at at Cocina Superior over at Brookwood Mall.  We have eaten there before and I don't remember what I had except for the excellent churros!  That's why we went back!  I had 3 tacos on soft corn tortillas with a slow cooked beef brisket filling.  They topped it with queso fresco, which is a mild crumbly white cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro.  On the side was avocado,  pico de gallo, and rice.  It also came with a choice of soup, black bean or chicken tortilla.  I had the black bean and it was better than the tacos!  The tacos were ok but not great.  Oh, and their salsa is a little bit different than the bright red salsa you ususally get.  I think their salsa had fire roasted tomatoes and it was very good. 

Finally, the churros!  I love them!  Crispy fried donut sticks coated in cinnamon and sugar.  If that wasn't enough, they put caramel and chocolate sauce on the plate to dunk in!  Oh my word!  In the future, I'll get a cup of soup and churros and skip the entree.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Orange Delight

Remember those congealed salads that show up at family get togethers and potlucks?  Well, this is a good one to show up with!  I know that it sounds like something your grandmother might make but I think its time to bring back some more old recipes.  This can be made sugar free too.

Orange Delight

1 lg orange jello
20oz crushed pineapple, drained reserving the juice
8oz cool whip
8oz cream cheese, softened
2T lemon juice
3/4c sugar
2T AP flour
2 eggs beaten
1/2c chopped pecans

Make jello according to package instructions and add the drained pineapple.  Pour into 9x13 pan and sprinkle with 1/4c chopped pecans.  Congeal in refrigerator.  Combine cream cheese and cool whip and layer on top of jello.  Add water to pineapple juice to equal 1 cup of liquid.  To juice add lemon, sugar, flour, and eggs.  Microwave until thick stirring every 2 mins then allow to cool.  Once cooled, layer on top of cream cheese mixture and top with remaining pecans.  Refrigerate 1hr before serving.

Sweet Potato Pie

This is such a delicious and simple recipe.  If you don't like pumpkin pie you should give sweet potato a try.  The recipe creates a nice light, almost fluffy, pie.  I made mine sugar free by substituting Splenda and it did great.  It was a lot prettier in person than in this picture!  My photography stinks!!

Sweet Potato Pie

1lb sweet potatoes (2-3)
1 stick butter softened
3/4c sugar/Splenda
1/2c milk
2 eggs
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
1t vanilla
1 pie crust shell

Microwave sweet potatoes (pricked with holes) until soft.  Mix potatoes in bowl with butter until well blended.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.  Pour into crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 mins until knife inserted into center comes out clean.