Sunday, March 29, 2009

Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

2 1/4 C. very warm water
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 yellow or white cake mix
5 C. flour

Mix water and yeast together with a wire whisk in a large bowl. Whisk cake mix into yeast water. Stir in flour one cup at a time. Let stand in bowl in a draft-free place for 45 minutes. Knead enough to punch down and roll to approx. 18" X 10". Add a small amount of flour if needed for kneading.

1/2 C. butter or margarine softened
1 C. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. chopped nuts (Optional)
1/4 C. raisins (Optional)

Mix butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Heat in microwave for 15 seconds. Spread over rolled out dough. Sprinkle nuts and raisins over dough. Starting with the widest end, roll dough into a tight log. Cut with dental floss into 1/2" to 1" slices. Place in a greased 9x13 inch pan and an 8x8 inch pan. Allow rolls to rise 25-35 minutes. Bake at 350º for 17-23 minutes, watching carefully.

1 (3-4oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Olive Garden Salad

½ c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. white vinegar
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 Tb. corn syrup
2 Tb. Parmesan cheese
2 Tb. Romano cheese
¼ tsp garlic salt – or one clove garlic, minced
½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp parsley flakes
1 Tb. lemon juice

1 large head romaine lettuce
slices red onion
black olives
2-4 banana peppers
2 small tomatoes, quartered
½ c. croutons
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

4 slices sandwich bread
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tb. butter
salt and pepper
dried parsley flakes

Mix all dressing ingredients in a blender until well mixed. If this is a little too tart for your own personal tastes, add a little extra sugar.
Chill one salad bowl in freezer for at least 30 minutes. Put lettuce in bowl. Place on top of lettuce red onions, black olives, banana peppers, tomatoes, and croutons. Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like, and add plenty of Olive Garden Salad Dressing on top.

For the homemade croutons:
Cut off crusts of sandwich bread, and cut bread into cubes. Melt butter in small saucepan and add minced garlic. Toss sandwich cubes in the butter and spread out in a pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper and parsley flakes to taste. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°, turning half way through baking.

Tuscan Lentil Soup

1 pound small French green lentils, rinsed
7 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 small cup pasta (try whole wheat)
8 oz spinach, chopped
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper
fresh Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, combine the lentils, broth and bay leaf. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for approximately 45 minutes, or until lentils are just tender.

In a small skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, but not browned. Set aside.

Bring a med saucepan of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 5 minutes, or until just al dente. Drain and set aside.

Add the sauteed vegetables, spinach, tomatoes (with juice), and parsley to the lentils. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in the pasta and season with the salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf. Ladle in bowls, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Cream Puffs

1 C. Water
1 C. Flour
1/2 C. Butter
4 Eggs

Heat water and butter to boil. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and beat in eggs all at once. Continue beating until smooth and well blended. Drop dough by tablespoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400º for 35 minutes until golden. Remove immediately and let cool on wire rack. Once cooled, slice puffs in half and remove residual dough leaving a hallowed out puff. Fill puffs with your favorite cream or use the following:

1 3 oz. package instant pudding (your favorite flavor -- lemon is excellent) made according to package and set until firm
1 8 oz container whipped topping

Combine after pudding is chilled and fill puffs. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate frosting. Enjoy with fresh berries.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lemon-Lime Bars

2 cups cake flour (key to a flaky crust)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup of butter
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbs flour
zest of 1 lg lemon & 1 lg lime
juice of one lg lemon & 1 lg lime
1/2 cup heavy cream

In large mixing bowl combine cake flour, salt, powder sugar. With pastry blender or fork mix in butter. Press into a 9x13 pan and bake for 15- 20 minutes at 350º until golden brown. While crust is cooking in medium bowl lightly beat eggs then add sugar, lemon & lime juice, lemon & lime zest, heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of flour. Whisk together. Pour over hot crust when crust is finished. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350º until the middle is set-up. Sift powdered sugar over the top. Makes about 24 bars.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Earthquake Cookies

A man in our neighborhood made these the other night for a church function and I am not a chocolate lover but I did love these!

1 stick butter, room temperature
8 oz brick of cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
18 oz box of moist chocolate cake mix
Confection sugar

Mix butter and cream cheese until blended. Add egg and vanilla. Next add cake mix. Refrigerate for 2 hours then make Tablespoon sized balls and roll in confection sugar and bake at 350º for 12-13 minutes.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fruit & Feta Salad

8 C. Assorted Lettuce Greens

½ C. Feta Cheese, crumbled

1 (11 oz.) Can Mandarin Oranges, drained

½ C. Dried Cranberries or Cherries

1 Small Red Onion, chopped

½ C. Toasted Pecans or Almonds

Combine ingredients in large salad bowl and toss with Brianna's Vinaigrette Dressing just before serving.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chocolate Mint Brownies

These make a GREAT St. Patrick's Day treat!

Cake Layer:
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 cube) butter softened
1 can (16oz) Hershey's syrup
Combine all ingredients in large bowl, beat until smooth. Spread into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely in dish.

Mint Creme Center:
3 drops green food coloring
2 cups powdered sugar
1 T water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 t mint extract
Beat above ingredients together until smooth. Spread on cooled cake layer.

Chocolate Topping:
6T butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt in small saucepan. Cool slightly. Pour over mint cream center. Refrigerate.
Note: Make sure each layer has time to cool before adding the next. It works best to refrigerate overnight after you finish the mint creme center and then add the chocolate topping the next morning. Leave ample time for the final chocolate layer to harden in the fridge as well. These can also be frozen.