Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dreamy Fruit Dip

This delightful orange-tinged fruit dip is a favorite of the (Ralph) Stewart girls, from Grandma Lyle.  And it's a hit at parties! It is the perfect compliment to fruit, without being overly sweet (like the dips with marshmallow in it.)  I'm posting the "full fat" version, and a similar low-fat version I found online (I haven't tried it, but it looks good.)

Dreamy Fruit Dip
Makes 2 – 3 Cups

·         1 Tbl lemon juice + grated orange rind
·         1 Tbl corn starch
·         1 egg
·         1/2 pint whipping cream
·         1/2 Cup frozen orange juice

Heat OJ in saucepan, stirring constantly.  Liquify the corn starch in a little cold water and add to the OJ.  Stir constantly until boiling rapidly and it turns glossy.  Remove from heat.

Whip whole egg in a bowl.  Very slowly add the OJ mixture (so the egg doesn’t cook) and beat it into the egg.  Pour mixture back into the saucepan, and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and cool in a bowl of ice + water.

Whip whipping cream till creamy (not stiff peaked).  Fold the OJ mixture into the whipping cream and mix until evenly incorporated.

Serve with your favorite fruits!

Low-fat version:

Orange Fruit Dip

  • 4 oz (half of 8-oz package) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Original 99% Fat Free orange crème or French vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
  • Assorted fresh fruit for dipping, if desired

  • In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth.
  • Add yogurt, powdered sugar, orange juice concentrate and vanilla; beat 30 to 60 seconds on low speed until blended and smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping until well blended. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours. Serve with fresh fruit.

Yields 12 Servings (2 tablespoons dip each).

Nutritional Information:
Calories 50 (Calories from Fat 20); Total Fat 2 1/2g (Saturated Fat 1 1/2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 45mg; Total Carbohydrate 6g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 5g); Protein 1g

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Honey Glazed Chicken Stir Fry

From The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Start to finish : 25 minutes
Fast & Low-Fat
Frozen vegetables save on the preparation time.


12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 cups vegetables, fresh or frozen
hot cooked rice or couscous

1. Rinse chicken; pat dry. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces; set aside. For sauce, in a small bowl stir together honey, vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, and cornstarch; set aside. (I double to sauce for this recipe, but I am a saucy kind of girl)

2. Pour cooking oil into a wok or a large skillet. (Add more oil as necessary during cooking.) Preheat over medium-high heat. Stir-fry vegetables for 3 minutes or till vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove vegetables from wok. Add chicken to hot wok. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or till chicken is no longer pink. Push chicken from the center of the wok. Stir sauce; add to center of the wok. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.

3. Return cooked vegetables to wok. Stir all ingredients together to coat. Cook and stir about 1 minute more or till heated through. If desire, serve immediately over rice or couscous. Makes 4 servings.

Turkey Meatloaf

My husband the greatest beef lover of all time didn't miss the beef. For me, that makes this recipe a keeper! It was moist and had great flavor. It will be sure to become a regular around here! No picture because meatloaf is not a pretty food. You know what it looks like....looks like meatloaf.

2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
3/4 cup catsup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Melt butter in a skillet.
2. Cook onion and garlic in melted butter for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Place mixture in a large bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Combine turkey, bread crumbs, egg, 1/4 cup of the catsup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper with onion mixture.
5. Press meatloaf into an 8x4-inch loaf pan.
6. Spread remaining catsup on top.
7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes.8(Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees.) Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Linguine Carbonara Pasta

(picture from cooking light website)
This recipe whips up in a flash and is one that you might just have everything already on hand. Precook the chicken and bacon before hand and everything can come together in 15 minutes. Although this is a healthier, dumbed down version of the Italian classic, it's tasty and will satisfy your family audience. The recipe is adapted from cooking light.
Serves 4

8 ounces uncooked linguine
1/2 lb cooked chicken cut into bite size pieces (optional)
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 c grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (2 t dried)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped pancetta (I used bacon)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large eggs

1.Precook chicken and bacon
2. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid.
3. Combine milk, parmesan, parsley and s&p in a small bowl; set milk mixture aside.
4. Place egg in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Gradually add 1/3 cup reserved hot cooking liquid, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add egg mixture to pan, stirring constantly. Add milk/cheese mixture. cook on low heat 2 minutes or until sauce is thick and creamy. Add milk or more pasta water to sauce until desired consistency is reached.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hills Butternut Soup

I always grow butternut squash in my garden each year. My favorite way to eat is is roasted in the oven with red onion but this is a close second. I took bits and pieces of two recipes and I think the addition of apple, ginger, and curry powder give this soup that "je ne sais quoi".

1 medium butter nut squash peeled and cubed into 1 inch cubes
1 Fuji apple peeled and chopped
1 can chicken broth

Put chopped squash,apple and chicken broth in a large saucepan and boil until very tender. Approx 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium skillet saute

2 T butter
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 t grated fresh ginger

Pour sauteed onion mixture into pot with squash. Puree all veggies with an immersion blender or food processor until smooth.

Then add
1 c whole milk
1 c half and half
1/4-1/2 t curry powder
1-2 T brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
dash of nutmeg

Stir and heat for a few minutes but do not bring to a boil. Serve with crusty bread. YUMMY!

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

*Stole this pic from b/c my camera is broken but the recipe is mine all mine.
I am LOVING this smoothie right now. I like my sister have an obsession with all things pumpkin flavored and this smoothie really helps me keep the craving to whip up a batch of pumpkin cookies or bread every day at bay.

1 small banana (or 1/2 a lg)
1/2 c vanilla yogurt
1 t pumpkin pie spice (seems like a lot I know, but trust me)
1/3 c pumpkin puree
1/2-1 c ice
1 T honey
4 small store bought gingersnap cookies

*if you only have plain yogurt just add more honey
*don't over do the banana flavor, you want to add thickness without taking away from the pumpkin
*I use Greek yogurt for added protein

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Farmer John's Favorite Pumpkin Cookies

I don't know who Farmer John is, but I love him!  I found this recipe in the San Jose Mercury news several years ago, and just now looked it up online and discovered that there actually IS a Farmer John in Half Moon Bay (CA), with his own website, even.

These cookies have "Jonathan Stewart" written all over them due to their bounteous use of BUTTERSCOTCH chips and frosting. Maybe they should be called "Farmer Jonathan's Favorite Pumpkin Cookies" instead?

Yield: 8-10 dozen.
2 Cups Shortening
3 Cups Sugar (1.5 Cups Dark Brown, 1.5 Cups Granulated)
3 Cups Pureed Pumpkin
2 Eggs
4 Cups Unbleached Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Salt
.5 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
.5tsp. Ground Cloves
.5 tsp. Ground Allspice
Stir in:
2 Cups Butterscotch Chips
2 Cups Nuts (I use half walnuts, half pecans)
1 cup Raisins
Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake: 10-12 minutes at 375º

Penuche Frosting:

Combine 3/4 stick Butter, 8 tsp Milk, and 1 Cup Brown Sugar in a pan. Cook until sugar is dissolved. 

Let cool, then stir in 2 Cups powdered sugar and 1.5 tsp. Vanilla.  

Mixture will stiffen when it cools, so I like to keep the pan on the stove on VERY low, to keep the frosting creamy as I frost the cookies.

Lightly glaze the tops of each cookie.  Top with chopped pecans if you like nuts.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are fluffy and moist!  One of the best recipes I've tasted.  I got this recipe from a former college roommate, (the late) Laura Mackay.  When she first told me about these cookies, I gagged.  Who eats pumpkin AND chocolate together?  And the batter wasn't very sweet!  Well, I've since learned my lesson.  These cookies are addictive!

Cream together:
  • 1/2 C shortening (the zero trans fat kind)
  • 1-1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 C pure pumpkin (canned)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Mix in:
  • 2-1/2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 C chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350*.  Mix the ingredients above.  Dough will be moist and fluffy, goopy.  Drop by generous teaspoon-full onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake for about 14 minutes (that seems to be the magic number.) Test them at 12 minutes.  You do not want to overbake these or they will be too dry.  The cookie shape will be imperfect with little swirls of batter -- like meringue -- which should be just slightly browned on the tips.

The cookies will be really moist the next day if you keep them in an air-tight container.  ENJOY!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Overnight Waffles with Buttermilk Syrup

I tried these this weekend and WOOOW! I love breakfast and waffles especially, but I find it's hard to find that great flavor and crispness that you get at a restaurant when you make them from scratch at home. These are BY FAR the best homemade waffles I've made only coming second to my "Golden Malted Waffle Mix" available at This recipe took seconds to throw together the night before and makes for an impressive and quick meal.
Recipe courtesy of BigOven


1/2 teaspoon Instant yeast
2 cups All purpose flour
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups milk
8 tablespoon Butter; melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract; optional
Canola Oil; for brushing on waffle iron
2 eggs

How to Prepare Overnight Waffles
1. Before going to bed, combine the dry ingredients and stir in the milk, then the butter and vanilla. The mixture will be loose. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight at room temperature (I found a gallon pitcher worked best)

2.Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil and preheat it. Separate the eggs and stir the yolks into the batter. Beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter. (I did NOT do this step I simply just beat the eggs with a fork for a minute and threw the eggs into the batter without separating them. Seemed to work well.)

3. Pour batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in a low oven.

I watch for the steam to stop rising from the waffle iron before I check for doneness. Also, these freeze well if you have extras. A quick toast in the toaster oven crisps them up again and they taste almost as good as fresh.

Buttermilk Syrup Recipe

This syrup is like pouring caramel over your breakfast and truthfully I would use it over all sorts of desserts if you wanted to make your own caramel sauce...the flavor of this one is out of this world!

1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a LARGE saucepan, stir together the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda. Bring to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
**This stuff really "grows" as it cooks so make sure your pan is at least 4 qt.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Veggie Lasagna

Mix together:

30 oz container part skim ricotta cheese
1 c Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 handful fresh parsley (1 T dried)
1 clove garlic


2-3 peeled and shredded zucchini
2-3 peeled and shredded carrot
10 oz fresh spinach washed
1/2 c mushrooms chopped (optional)

You can mix all the veggies together once prepared, or just put them in layers on the lasagna...doesn't matter.

Additional Ingredients:
1 box Lasagna noodles*** (see note)
1/2 c additional Parmesan for top
2 c shredded mozzarella
2 containers of your favorite pasta sauce


You can make this dish into 2 small 8x8 pans (one for now, one to freeze) or one large 9x13 pan. Begin by spraying your pan with cooking spray. Then pour a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Then layer uncooked REGULAR (you DON'T need the no boil kind) lasagna noodles, 1/2 cheese mixture, 1/2 veggies, sauce, then repeat....noodles, cheese mixture, veggies, sauce and noodles. This is the top of your lasagna and you should cover the noodles with any additional sauce you may have. Then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan. Bake at 375 for 1 hour.

***This lasagna is very moist due to all the veggies and so do not feel tempted to precook your noodles, otherwise it might turn into lasagna soup. When the lasagna comes out of the oven your pasta will be cooked perfectly al dente....prego!

Zucchini Bread --Regular and Chocolate

(Chocolate Zucchini Bread shown)

This is my favorite way to get rid of those garden zucchini that are going crazy right now!!! None of your neighbors want to take your zucchini's but I bet they won't be able to say no to your delicious zucchini bread!
This recipe is adapted from the favorites cookbook. The adaptations I have made make it healthier, more flavorful, and moist. That's a win, win, win. It's my favorite recipe I've tried....and I've tried a few. So enjoy!

1 c whole wheat flour
2 c all purpose flour
1 T cinnamon
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
3 eggs beaten
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c oil
1/2 c plain yogurt
1 T vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini...(to peel or not to peel you decide)
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8x4 loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Then beat eggs, sugars, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Slowly mix in dry ingredients. Blend in grated zucchini and nuts.

**Now....if you want CHOCOLATE zucchini bread you would add 2/3 c cocoa powder to your dry ingredients. And you could add 1/2 c chocolate chips instead of the nuts. Sometimes I can't decide if I want regular or chocolate so I pour half the regular batter into one prepared pan, and then add 1/3 c cocoa to the remaining batter and mix well. Then voila! You have one of each. Genius.

Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!!!

Hint: These also make great muffins! Just adjust the baking time for 20-25 minutes for regular and 30-35 minutes for the jumbo size.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hershey's Caramel Pecan Bars

I made these years ago (like maybe 8 years?) for treats for my mom's choir singers, and a former singer just reminded me of them today, and remembers how amazing they were.  So, there you have it.  These brownies will linger in your mind and in your mouth for 8 years and counting!

·         1/2 C sugar
·         2 Tbl butter
·         2 Tbl water
·         2 C (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips – divide in half
·         2 eggs
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         2/3 C all purpose flour
·         1/4 tsp baking soda
·         1/4 tsp salt

Caramel topping:
·         Bag of caramels (need 25 pieces)
·         1/2 stick butter
·         2 Tbl milk
·         1 C chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350*.  Line a 9” square baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Grease and flour the foil.

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter and water.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils, then remove from heat.  Immediately add 1 C chocolate chips and stir until melted.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; stir into chocolate mixture.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.  Meanwhile, prepare Caramel Topping.  Remove brownies from oven; immediately and carefully spread with prepared topping.  Sprinkle 1 C chocolate chips and pecans over the caramel.  Cool completely in pan.  When cooled, use the foil to lift brownies out of the pan.  Cut into bars.

Caramel Topping:

Remove wrappers from 25 caramels.  In medium microwave-safe bowl, place 1/2 stick butter, caramels and 2 Tbl milk.  Microwave at HIGH for 1 minute; stir.  Microwave an additional 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.  Use immediately.

Friday, August 19, 2011

South by Southwest Brownies

This was brownie bake-off recipe #2.  I think I saw it in a Southwest Airlines magazine, and ripped it out to take home with me.  I become violent when I see chocolate.  This brownie has more of a cake-like texture than #1, and didn't have the more sophisticated semi-sweet/bittersweet taste of brownie #1.  But it was very moist inside -- if you pinch the crumbs together, it turns to mush.  And I've eaten the whole pan myself, so there!

- 1 C unsalted butter
- 2 C sugar
- 4 large eggs @ room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2/3 C unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2/3 C unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 d.  Grease and flour a 9x9 pan, tapping out extra flour.  I used cocoa powder, not white flour. (I only had an 8x8 glass pan, so the brownies were thick.)

Melt butter in microwave or in a sauce pan over medium heat on the stove.  Remove from heat.  Whisk or stir in sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla.  Carefully stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.   Make sure the dry ingredients are well-incorporated and batter is smooth.  Pour in the pan and bake 35-40 minutes (since I used a smaller pan and brownies were thicker, it took 40 minutes.)  Toothpick test should have a few small clumps on it.

Let brownies cool completely (yeah, right) before cutting and eating.

Gramercy Tavern Chocolate Brownies

This was my "Brownie Bake-Off" #1 recipe that I tested while my family was enjoying Scotland.  (Hmmm, a brownie vs. Scotland.  Tough choice!)  This recipe is from chef Claudia Fleming of Gramercy Tavern in NYC.  I think this was my favorite between #1 and #2 -- it has a more sophisticated chocolate taste and texture.  At least, this is the one I would bake for a gourmet gift.

The texture was like a truffle brownie, although it was slightly on the dry side (the brownie was stiff to cut into), but I think I baked it 2 minutes too long.  Seriously, ANY over-baking of brownies leads to no good, so I recommend under-baking these.

- 8 oz unsalted butter
- 4 oz premium unsweetened chocolate (e.g. Scharffen Berger)
- 2 large eggs
- 1-2/3 C sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 C unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 C chocolate chips (can also use chopped pecans, but why???)

Preheat oven to 350 d.  Grease a 9x9 pan (I only had an 8x8 glass pan, so they were a little thicker, but it worked nicely!)

Melt butter and chocolate together in a bowl, stir until combined (can melt slowly in microwave, or in a double boiler on the stove.)  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together.  Add the melted butter/chocolate mixture, and whisk until incorporated.  Fold in the flour and salt.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into the pan and bake for approx. 30 minutes (the recipe says 35 min.  I baked them for 32 and I think it was 2 minutes too long.)  The center should be moist but not runny.  Cool 5 minutes, then take a knife and gentle loosen the edges.  Let cool completely before serving/eating -- if you can wait that long!

Kim's South of the Border Brownies

This recipe was adapted from a Hershey's brownie recipe.  Mine is better, of course!  You can add the "special ingredient" for a little kick, or leave it out for a gooey, chocolatey brownie.

- 1 C margarine
- 2 C sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 2 Tbl light Karo syrup
- 3/4 C cocoa
- 1 C flour + 1 Tbl
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste.  **optional)

Preheat oven to 350 d.  Grease a 9x13 pan. 

Melt margarine on stove.  Stir in sugar, vanilla, Karo syrup.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well with a spoon (I always use a  wooden spoon -- just works best!)  Mix in cocoa, flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.

Pour into pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes depending on oven (but best if "underbaked.")  YUM!

King Arthur Fudgy Brownies

These brownies are the BEST!  They make a thick, decadent brownie in a 9"x13" pan.  I use this recipe for holiday brownies when I'm taking gifts to people, etc.  You can "dress them up" to make them fancy, or just leave plain.

·    1 C (8 oz) salted butter
·    2 ¼ C sugar
·    1 ¼ C premium Dutch-processed cocoa powder
·    ½ tsp salt (or 1 tsp if unsalted butter)
·    1 tsp baking powder
·    1 Tbl vanilla
·    4 large eggs
·    1 ½ C flour (unbleached, all-purpose)
·    2 C (1 12 oz bag) dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*, lightly grease 9x13” pan.

In medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in saucepan over low heat, melt butter and remove from heat, then add sugar and stir to combine.  Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just till hot but not bubbling.  Mixture will become shiny as you stir it over heat (this will dissolve the sugar and provide a shiny top crust on the brownies).  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla.  Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating till smooth; then add flour and chips, beating till well combined.  Spoon the batter into the pan.

Bake brownies for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out dry (though might have a few crumbs on it.)  The brownies should feel set both on the edges and in the center.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then loosen around edges with a table knife (this helps brownies from sinking in the middle as they cool.)  Cool completely before cutting and serving.

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