Thursday, May 29, 2008

Creamy Lemon Squares

Here's the recipe I mentioned in the last post. These were really tasty. And tart. And easy. Enjoy!

Creamy Lemon Squares

1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. flour
4 large egg yolks
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 c. fresh lemon juice (from 3 large lemons)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butten an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.
Make crust: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add flour, mix on low just until combined. Press dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan; prick all over with a fork. Bake until lightly golden 15-20 minutes.
Make filling: In a large bowl, whisk together yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over hot crust in pan; return to oven, and bake until filling is set 25-30 minutes (I baked mine a little longer). Cool completely in pan.
Refrigerate until filling is firm, about 2 hours or up to 3 days. Using paper overhang lift cake onto work surface, cut into 16 squares and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Working through the List

I always have a long list of recipes that I want to try. But, I'm not always very good at working my way through the list. Lately, though, I've been trying to take that list, compare it with what is in the pantry and freezer and try some new meals (and hopefully save a few dollars at the grocery store). So, here are a couple things that we've liked. The first recipe is for a very simple grilled chicken...something I've never managed to master. (And, I still don't do the grilling, just the pre-work. It's my husband's job to actually cook the meat, and he has a new grill, so he doesn't mind in the least). The marinade is easy and hopefully uses things you already have on hand, and the chicken comes out tasty and tender. One of the best parts is that this chicken is great right off the grill, but it's also very tasty in a salad, which is how we used our leftovers the first time we made it. Without further adieu...

Garlic-Marinated Chicken Cutlets (I used tenders)

2 TB olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
3 TB fresh thyme (I used dried thyme leaves, maybe 1/2 tsp)
coarse salt and ground pepper
3 lb. chicken cutlets, about 12 (again, I used tenders, just read the recipe wrong, but they worked great)

To make marinade, whisk together oil, garlic, vinegar, thyme, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a large shallow dish. Add chicken; turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes. Lift chicken from marinade and grill (be sure to oil grates) until browned and cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. This makes enough to serve 4 (with side dishes...we grilled potatoes, and had cucumber and onion salad and watermelon with ours) and then there is enough chicken leftover to use in another meal.

That's it. It was so easy. For the Cobb Salad a couple days later, we tossed Romaine lettuce with an easy Honey Dijon vinaigrette (let me know if you want the recipe). Then, we topped the lettuce with the leftover sliced chicken, crumbled bacon, grape tomatoes, diced avocado and feta cheese. It was really good and a fast and easy summer supper.

Stay tuned for a lemon bar recipe that only required 3 ingredients for the filling!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sopapilla Cheesecake

This is a yummy recipe, that could pass for a coffee cake if you wanted it to!!

2 (8 oz.) pkgs cream cheese (can use fat free)
2 cans crescent rolls
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick melted butter

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tlbs. cinnamon

Spread 1 can of rolls in a 9X13 pan (best to use clear to make sure the bottom browns).
Mix together cr. cheese, sugar and vanilla then spread evenly over the rolls.
Spread second can of rolls over the cr. cheese mixture.
Drizzle butter over the rolls.
Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture over top.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 min. (however long it takes to get the top and bottom layer of rolls browned).
Best served warm!

The Pioneer Woman

For those of you looking for new recipes, and I'm guessing you are because you read this blog.... I've recently found a very entertaining blog with some yummy recipes. The blogger is a California city girl who married a rancher, and now lives out in the boonies. She's got some great recipes, and I'll warn you a head of time, nearly every one calls for at least a stick of butter. Not for the clogged of heart!!
Check her out, you'll enjoy it!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Macaroni, Two Ways

I keep thinking that I will get back in the swing of things and start posting recipes more regularly. Somehow life continues to derail my good intentions. It's a new month and a new opportunity. We'll see how I do. Let's get straight to these two delicious macaroni recipes. First, the one I mentioned in a previous post that we thoroughly enjoyed, Skillet Macaroni and Beef, from the Cook's Country magazine. This was a quick and easy dinner and made more than expected.

Skillet Macaroni and Beef

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 lg. onion, choppped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. elbow macaroni
1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Cook beef in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Drain beef, leaving 2 TB fat in the skillet, and reserve. Add onion, red pepper, and garlic to fat in skillet and cook, covered, until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
Add macaroni, tomato sauce, broth, oregano and reserved beef to skillet and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve. (I covered it and let the cheese melt before serving).
Yield: While the recipe says 4, I would say 6.

Okay, on to the next recipe. If you buy the right size of macaroni (although I have no idea what the "right" size is) you should have enough left to try this recipe as well. It's another recipe from Cook's Country and is yet another skillet recipe too. We made this about a week ago. I was very impressed with how creamy the macaroni turned out. I'm hard to please when it comes to homeade mac and cheese, but this hit the spot.

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

2 TB unsalted butter
2 c. fresh bread crumbs (I made them in the food processor with white bread, but you could eliminate all this and just use dried ones and I think it would probably work...although the fresh were delicious)
Salt and pepper
3 3/4 c. water, plus more as needed
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
3 c. elbow macaroni
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. hot sauce
3 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 c. shredded monterey jack cheese
(I bought both cheeses in blocks and shredded them, so that they would melt better)

For breadcrumbs: Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread crumbs, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out skillet.

Bring water, 1 1/4 c. evaporated milk and 1/2 tsp salt to simmer in skillet over medium-high heat. Add macaroni and cook, stirring often, until macaroni is al dente, 8-10 minutes.
Whisk remaining evaporated milk, cornstarch and hot sauce in small bowl, then stir into skillet. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in cheeses, one handful at a time, adding water as needed to adjust consistency. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve.

Yield: 4-6
(The hot sauce does not make this dish at all spicy. It just adds flavor.)