Monday, October 25, 2010

Ham and Cheese Spiders

I spun off my earlier post of Ham and Cheese Sliders and turned them into spiders. I used this recipe for French Bread Rolls to make the spider body and legs. I was in  a hurry to get these in the oven so they ended up looking like crabs. Next time I will spend more time making them look better.

Ham and Cheese Spiders
Makes 7-9 spiders

1 recipe for French Bread Rolls or  if you are short on time you can use 1 (12 oz.) tube refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits, separated into 10 biscuits. Also use 1 (11 oz.) tube refrigerated bread sticks. separated into 12 bread sticks
1 c. chopped fully cooked ham
24 (about 1 cup) small slices of cheese (Swiss works great)
2 tbsp. sliced olives

For the sauce:
1½ tbsp. yellow mustard
8 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. finely minced onion (or 2 tsp. dried minced onion)
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut 3 -3 1/2 inch circles. Place on greased baking sheets. Roll 8 legs for each spider about 1/2 inch thick. Press each leg into the dough circles on the baking sheet. Tuck 1/2 inch ball of foil under each leg so it stands up in the center.

Add the ham and cheese to the middle of the dough circle. Top with another 3 1/2 inch circle of dough. Pinch edges to seal.

In a small bowl combine the sauce ingredients. Brush over tops of spiders and legs, sprinkle with poppy seeds. Place 2 sliced olives to resemble eyes. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Monster Claws

Another fun Halloween food.

Monster Claws

5 small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Cut 2 wedges from end of each potato slice to resemble claw.

Place oil in a 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan; tilt to coat bottom evenly. Place potato slices evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle slices with paprika, turn to coat with oil and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 5 minutes. Turn slices; bake 4 minutes longer or until just fork tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baked Potato Soup - a lighter version

I love when I find recipes that allow me to substitute full fat ingredients for reduced fat or reduced calorie. I love baked potato soup but because of the heavy creamy texture I don't make it very often. I found this recipe on Our Best Bites, one of my favorite blogs. It uses skim milk instead of whole, and light sour cream and you get very similar results...a very tasty soup.

Baked Potato Soup

2 Tbs butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C flour
4 1/2 C low-fat or skim milk
1 14oz can chicken broth
4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) baked*
2 C grated cheddar (or sharp cheddar) cheese, divided
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 C  light sour cream, divided
1/2 C chopped green onions, divided
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided

*don't have time to bake potatoes in the oven?  Just pierce them with a fork a few times and then pop them in the microwave.  Cook in 5 minute intervals until a knife easily pierces through them.  It usually takes 5-10 minutes.  To bake in the oven, pierce each potato with a fork and place directly on oven rack.  Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes.

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.  Add flour to pan.  Slowly add milk a little at a time while whisking constantly to eliminate lumps.  Whisk until smooth and then add chicken broth.  Bring soup just to a simmer and heat until thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Once soup is thickened, turn heat down to medium-low.  Cut potatoes in half length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out potato flesh into the pot.  Use a wooden spoon to smash potatoes, breaking up large clumps.  Add 1 1/2 C grated cheese and salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted.  Remove pan from heat and stir in 3/4 C sour cream, 1/4 C green onions, and 4 strips of the crumbled bacon.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with each serving with the remaining sour cream, onions, cheese, and bacon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Potluck Pan Rolls

When I first started making bread this is the first recipe I used. It has remained my favorite roll recipe so far.

Potluck Pan Rolls

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 tsp.)
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/2 cup water. Add the butter, eggs, milk powder, salt, 3 cups flour and remaining sugar and water. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

Punch dough down. Divide into 27 pieces; shape into balls. Place 18 balls in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan and remaining balls in a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 375° for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 27 rolls.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bloodshot Eyeballs

Anyone that knows me knows how much I LOVE Halloween. I especially love to make fun and spooky food. I had fun making these eyeballs.

Bloodshot Eyeballs

2 c. confectioners sugar, divided
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 lb. white candy coating (Almond bark)
24 Reese's pieces or M&M's
1 Tbsp. water
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red food coloring

In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 cup confectioners sugar, butter and peanut butter. Shape into 1 inch balls; place on a waxed paper lined pan. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt white candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip balls in coating and place on waxed paper. Immediately press a candy onto the top of each eyeball for pupil. Let stand for 30 minutes or until set.

In a small bowl, combine the water, food coloring and remaining confectioners sugar. Transfer to a heavy duty resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe wavy lines downward from pupil, creating the look of bloodshot eyes. Store in an airtight container.  (You can use the store bought icing to get that dark red color since it is nearly impossible to get that color just by adding red food coloring.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

While on a trip to the Pacific Northwest last year, I ate at a place called BJ's Brewhouse. I immediately fell in love with their food specifically their Tuscan Tomato Bisque in a Sourdough bread bowl.  BJ's is a national franchise but is not located in Utah. Becasue of this I had to try to recreate a copy cat dish at home. This is what I came up with:

Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced bacon (about 1/2 ounce)
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
3 parsley sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leave
1 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

When the soup base is cool, remove and discard the herb bundle. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Using a sieve over a large bowl, strain the tomato puree. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.

Whisk the heavy cream and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.

Recipe by: The Food Network

Parmesan Croutons

4 large slices of hearty bread (I used sourdough)
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
olive oil to coat
garlic salt

Preheat oven to 300. Brush bread on one side with olive oil. Cut into cubes and spread out on an ungreased baking sheet, oiled side up. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bread is crispy.

*The final touch to recreate the BJ's version is to spread garlic butter on the lid of the bread bowl and broil it on low for about 4-5 minutes until slightly browned.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin French Toast with Crunchy Cinnamon Crust

The crunchy crust of this French toast really makes this dish so delicious!

Pumpkin French Toast with Crunchy Cinnamon Crust

2 large eggs
1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbs granulated sugar
4 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, crushed
Eight 3/4-inch thick slices of day-old French bread

In a low-lying, flat bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.

In another low-lying flat bowl, place crushed cereal.

Heat skillet to medium-heat, brush with butter. Quickly dip bread on both sides into the egg mixture, then cover both sides of the bread with the crushed cereal. Place in hot skillet, reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Heat 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining bread. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Yield: 2 slices per person

This recipe really is best with French bread that is a day or two old- if it’s too soft, it will absorb too much of the liquid and turn out soggy.

Do a quick dip into the liquid. You don’t want to soak the bread in it.

You may leave off the crumbled cereal if you don’t wish to add crunch. (It’s good though!)

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins topped with Gingersnap-Cinnamon Chip Streusel

These muffins are an absolute must try!! They are amazing! The topping is a mixture of gingersnaps, pecans, oats, and cinnamon chips and is incredibly good. I had never heard of cinnamon chips before but Hershey's makes little chocolate chip like cinnamon chips. They are difficult to find and are pricey but totally worth it. I found the chips at Harmon's. If anyone finds them elsewhere, let me know.

Pumpkin Muffins Topped with Gingersnap-Cinnamon Chip Streusel

3/4 cup coarsely chopped gingersnaps
1/3 cup cinnamon chips
1/3 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1/3 cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 8 large muffin cups, or 12 regular-sized muffin cups.

Combine gingersnaps, cinnamon chips, pecans, oats, and granulated sugar in a large bowl; knead in 3 tablespoons butter until mixture is well combined and starts to clump together. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together 5 tablespoons butter, oil and brown sugar until creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla until combined. Beat in eggs until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture, alternating with milk until just combined - about 1-2 minutes.

Divide batter into muffin cups. Evenly top with gingersnap mixture, and gently press into the surface of the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into cake comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Cool muffins 10 minutes before removing from pan and cooling.

Makes 8 big muffins or 12 regular muffins

Recipe source: Sugar Plum

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

This fudge tastes just like pumpkin pie. It is really good! The instructions say to use an 8x8 pan but it makes the fudge too thick. I would recommend using a 9x13 pan to get a more reasonable size of fudge. 

Pumpkin Pie Fudge
3 cups sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tbsp. corn syrup
2 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
9 oz. white chocolate, chopped
7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir together first six ingredients in a 3 ½ – quart saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.  Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234° (soft-ball stage).

Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining ingredients until well blended.  Pour into a greased aluminum foil-lined 8-inch square pan.  Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool; cut fudge into squares.

Source: Annie's Eatsadapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Savory Spiral Stuffed Rolls

This was my 2nd attempt at making these rolls. I tried just using Rhodes frozen bread dough and it didn't rise for some reason. So the next day I broke down and just made the dough from scratch. Let me tell you it was worth it. These were very good.

Savory Spiral Stuffed Rolls

*Makes 12-16 rolls

1 recipe roll dough (that yields about 12 rolls), I used  this French Bread Rolls recipe using half wheat flour
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 cups chopped ham (I just used deli ham)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli
2 cups shredded cheese (any kind works)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup finely chopped green onions

Follow the recipe for your roll dough until the dough has risen. Punch down the dough and roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/2-inch thick (using the french bread roll recipe, I rolled my dough to about 13 inches by 17 inches).

In a small bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Spread the rolled out dough with the butter/cream cheese mixture. Top with the ham, broccoli, cheese, Parmesan cheese, and green onions (see the pictures below). Roll the dough up, pinching the seam to seal. Slice the roll into about 1-inch segments. Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise until nearly doubled and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe expanded upon from Marisa at What’s For Dinner

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

If you have ever had the soup at Olive Garden, you will recognize this soup. Of the copy cat recipes I have tried there are few that are as good as the real thing. This is one of them. It tastes the same as if you were to order it at Olive Garden.

This recipe makes a lot of soup so it is a good idea to put some in the freezer for future use. 

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
3 stalks of celery, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, with liquid
1 (15 oz.) can great northern beans, with liquid
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (12 oz.) can V-8 (I actually use a 46 oz. can of vegetable juice because I like my soup with lots of liquid. Also, as it cooks it reduces drastically, especially when you add the pasta.)
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 lb. ditali pasta (or any other small shaped pasta)

In a large sauce pan or stock pot, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Drain off fat. (If you prefer not to use ground beef, just make sure to add a couple tablespoons of oil to your pot before you saute the vegetables.

Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute for 10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 50 minutes. In a medium saucepan, cook pasta to al dente. Leave it a little firm because it will continue to cook when it is added to the soup. Drain. Add pasta to soup and continue to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Serves 8

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Turkey Pesto Sliders

I had to use regular hamburger buns for this because I didn't have any slider buns on hand and didn't have the time to make anything from scratch. The next time I make these I will for sure take the time to make my own bread. Everything was great about the sandwich except the bun.

Turkey Pesto Sliders

6 slider buns
6 slices of turkey deli meat
6 slices of provolone cheese
3 tbsp. pesto
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat.  Split the slider buns and lay a folded slice of turkey on the bottom half of each bun.  Layer each with a slice of provolone.  In a small bowl, combine the pesto and mayonnaise in a small bowl and mix until blended.  Spread a thin layer of the pesto mayonnaise on the inner side of the top half of each bun.  Replace the top bun over the cheese to assemble the sandwiches.  Brush the tops of the buns lightly with melted butter.  Bake 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are warmed through.

Recipe source:
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