Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Green Beans Almondine

When I used to cater with a couple of my friends, this was a favorite Green bean recipe we made. We also made this for my daughter's wedding. Just something different from the french onion recipe. Green Beans Almondine
(2) 16 oz. cans green beans
8 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
small package sliced almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 bunches green onions, sliced
In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, add the sugar, almonds and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.
In a 2 qt. casserole dish, add the green beans. Mix in the green onions. Pour vinegar/almond mixture over beans and stir until mixed. Crumble the bacon on top. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until thoroughly heated.
Yield: 10 servings
Recipe source: Beta Sigma Phi Company's Coming Cookbook

Monday, December 29, 2008

Parmesan Bread

This was a perennial favorite made by my husband's late aunt Eunice. She was a wonderful cook and always served this with the holiday meals. Just remember to make the topping a day ahead of time to let the flavors meld.

Parmesan Bread

1 loaf French bread

Topping: 1 cup mayonnaise (no substitutions)

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

Mix the topping ingredients together at least a day ahead of time.

To serve: Slice the bread in half lengthwise. Spread the topping on both halves of bread. Broil until topping turns light brown. Serve immediately.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mandarin Orange Salad

This is really light and refreshing salad that goes with a meal that could be heavy otherwise. It's also good in the summer.

Mandarin Orange Salad

1/2 cup sliced almonds

3 T. sugar

1/2 head iceberg lettuce

1/2 head romaine lettuce

1 cup celery

2 whole green onions, chopped

11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained


1 tsp. salt

dash of pepper

1/4 cup oil (I used canola oil)

1 TBSP. chopped parsley

2 TBSP. sugar

2 TBSP. vinegar

dash of Tabasco sauce

In a small pan over medium heat, cook almonds and sugar, stirring constantly until almonds are coated and sugar dissolved. Watch carefully as they will burn easily. Cool and store in airtight container. Mix all dressing ingredients and chill. Mix lettuces, celery and onions. Just before serving, add almonds and oranges. Toss with the dressings.

Recipe source: Aunt Phyllis--thanks!

Caprese Salad

This has become my new favorite salad of late and found that everyone's idea of what to put on it differs. I made up my own concoction of what I have found to be my favorite seasonings. I guess I could look up a recipe..but this turned out pretty good. And people that know me are shocked that I WILLINGLY eat cheese--that's not melted! My Dutch friends accuse me on not really being Dutch as I do not like any cheese unless it's melted! But the Buffalo Mozzerella Fresh Cheese just doesn't taste like cheese! And paired with the other ingredients, it can't be beat!

Caprese Salad

Fresh Mozzerella Cheese, sliced

Plum Tomatoes, sliced ( I do ahead of time and drain on paper towels)

Balsamic Vinegar

Garlic Expressions Oil (a garlic infused olive oil--found in the produce section)

Fresh basil, chopped (I forgot to buy some, so used dried basil..but fresh is best!)

Layer mozzerella cheese slices with the tomato slices. Sprinkle with basil. Pour the vinegar and oil over all to taste. Bon appetit!

Christmas Eve Menu

After years of doing hor'dourves on Christmas Eve, I switched to doing a dinner. We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve with our kids and their families and the young ones just did not enjoy the appetizers. So, this is the second year of doing a dinner and it's kind of fun to do it up 'big' for my family. It's my way of serving them and doing something special and out of the ordinary for them. My menu.....
The only thing that wasn't on there was this Fruit Torte my daughter brought. She is a good cook, but the recipe she wanted to do wasn't given to her until too late. So she brought was beautiful and yummy. But no recipe since it came from a bakery.
Recipes will be posted over the next days for some of the items on our menu.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year. In these times of gloom, we can still be very grateful we are blessed to have food on the table and family and friends to share with us. I wish the same for all of you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Banket (aka Dutch letters or Almond Sticks)

If ya ain't Dutch, ya ain't much...oh, oh...I'm sorry. I meant to say, if you aren't Dutch, you might not have heard of this pastry. But you have just got to try it! It's a Dutch staple, especially at Christmas time. It's a very delicate pastry filled with the most decadent almond paste filling. Perfect to have at tea time with your afternoon tea. You don't do that? Well, maybe you should start! My aunt makes 100's of these each year at Christmas. We usually make them into 'sticks' (just plain logs) but a lot of bakeries form them into letters, hence the name. Anyway you shape them, they are just plain yummy. Slice them into 1/2" to 1" pieces to serve.

Banket (Dutch letters or Almond Sticks)
1 stick oleo (Blue Bonnet is the best to use)
1 stick butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice cold water
Mix like a pie crust. Chill overnight.
1 lb. almond paste (1 1/2 cups)
3 medium eggs, save the egg white from one of the eggs (NOTE: it's important to use medium size eggs with this recipe)
1 heaping cup sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2/3 cup rusk, crushed (beschuit--found in larger grocery stores in the International section--if you absolutely cannot find it, you can substitute plain bread crumbs.)
Mix all together and chill overnight.
To make the sticks:
Roll dough into 6 large strips 12" - 14" long by 6" wide and fill with the almond paste filling. Roll up and seal the dough. Prick the top with a fork. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until a light golden brown.
I can almost smell them. If you make some, will you invite me? Then I can close my eyes and think of my Grandma. Thanks. (ps. I just need about 2 days notice.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Death by Chocolate Trifle

Ooohhh, and it's as good as it sounds! If you don't like chocolate, you probably won't like this! :) It was another one of my desserts at my Christmas Brunch.

Death by Chocolate Trifle

1 large package fudge brownie mix (for a 9 x 13 pan)

(1) 4 oz. package instant chocolate mousse mix

)8) 1 1/2 oz. toffee candy bars (like Heath bars), crushed

12 oz. whipped topping (I used Chocolate Cool Whip)

Chocolate curls

Prepare and bake brownie mix using package directions for a 9 x 13 baking pan. Let stand until cool and then crumble. Prepare mousse using package directions, omitting cooling step. Layer brownie crumbs, mousse, candy and whipped topping 1/2 at a time in a 3 quart trifle dish. Chill for 8 hours. Garnish with chocolate curls. Yield: 16 to 18 servings.

Recipe source: Beta Sigmi Phi "Company's Coming" cookbook

Weight watcher points: don't even bother counting! LOL

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cherry Puff Ring

I love eclairs (or cream puffs as some call them) filled with custard and iced with chocolate. So trying a new pastry filled with a vanilla almond pudding seemed like I was giving up on the old standard. But I like almond flavor as well, and thought I'd give it a shot. And it turned out really well. For those that have never made the eclair pastry, it's a lot easier than what it sounds.

Cherry Cream Puff Ring
For pastry:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sour cream
(1) 4 oz. pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1/4 tsp. almond extract
(1) 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring water and butter to boil in a 1 qt. saucepan. Add flour, stirring for 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat. Beat in eggs at low speed for 2 minutes. Drop by tablespoonfuls into 8 inch ring on greased baking sheet; smooth with spatula. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cut off top of ring with sharp knife; discard pastry filaments. Combine milk, sour cream, pudding mix and almond extract in medium mixer bowl; beat at low speed for 1 minute or until smooth. Spoon into pastry ring. Spoon 1/2 c. pie filling over pudding; replace top of ring. Spoon remaining pie filling over top. Chill until serving time. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.
Recipe source: Beta Sigma Phi "Company's Coming" cookbook

This is the top of the pastry ring....cut off

.....pulling out the filaments from the ring and top of ring: kind of looks like a soft scrambled egg....

.....adding the pudding filling....

A festive Christmas dessert! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Banket (aka Dutch letters)

Pecan Turtles

Who can resist rich chewy caramel over crunchy pecans dipped in chocolate? Not me! These have become my new holiday favorite to make and give away. My good friend, Linda J., won 2nd place in a Taste of Home contest one year (sorry, can't remember which year now!) with this recipe. The only thing I do is not cook it as long as she did to make mine more like soft caramel and I dip mine in chocolate, rather than drizzle it. Yummy, yummy!
Pecan Turtles
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine (I use butter)
1 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 lbs. pecan halves
1 1/2 lbs. melting chocolate (you can mix semi sweet chips and milk choc. chips or buy the melting chocolate discs at a bakery)
2 TBSP. shortening (to thin chocolate)
In a large saucepan, combine the first four ingredients. Cook over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Gradually add the milk and mix well. Continue cooking until candy thermometer reaches about 220 degrees (or soft ball stage). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla until blended. Fold in the pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a freezer paper lined cookie sheet. Chill until firm. Melt chocolate in a small crockpot and dip the turtles until fully covered and place back on freezer paper lined cookie sheet. Cool. Yields about 4 dozen.
Recipe by Linda Jonsson

Monday, December 8, 2008

Slush Punch

This is a great punch--nice and red and a great flavor. So easy to make ahead as well. When I catered with my friends, this was our standard punch.
Slushy Punch
(1) 3 oz. package cherry jello
(1) 3 oz. package strawberry jello
(1) 3 oz. package raspberry jello
Mix in a LARGE bowl or pan. Add 4 cups boiling water and 8 cups COLD water. Add 64 oz. can pineapple juice and (1) 12 oz. can pink lemonade concentrate, thawed. Pour into DOUBLED freezer ziploc bags x 2. Freeze until firm.
To serve: take out of freezer at least 2 hours ahead of time. Put one bag into punch bowl and 2 liters ginger ale. Each bag serves 25 people.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fruit Slush

This fruit slush is a really good thing to keep on hand. I make it and then put it in 5 oz. dixie cups. For my party, I used 3 oz. cups though because the only 5 oz. ones I could find had Sponge Bob on them! Just mix up the batch, then pour it into a pitcher and pour into the cups (have them on a baking tray) and then freeze them. Get them out about 20 minutes before you want to serve them and they'll be nice and slushy. A different twist on serving juice.

Fruit Slush

3 Cups water

2 cups sugar

Mix the two in a saucepan and boil to dissolve the sugar. Let cool. Then add:

(1) 6 oz. can orange juice concentrate, thawed

3 cans water

2 cups mashed bananas

(1) 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained

Pour into 5 oz. cups and freeze.

Makes (24) 5 oz. cups. Thaw 20 minutes prior to serving to make it slushy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Coconut Rum Crescent Rolls

I just hosted a Christmas Brunch and served lots of yummies and thought I would share, since I remembered to take pictures! I don't have a habit of photographing my food on a regular basis and after we eat it, I thought, I should have taken a picture! Oh well, I'll get better. Because I really want to show you what it's supposed to look like. Isn't that why we buy all the little magazines in the grocery store check out aisle? Because the pictures make it look so yummy. And how many times do we try a recipe without a photo? Not as much as when we have a photo, is it? :) I'll post a new recipe each day until I complete the menu of what I served.

Coconut Rum Crescent Rolls

2 cans crescent rolls

2 TBSP. butter, melted

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup shredded coconut

1 TBSP. rum extract

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" x 13" pan. Separate crescent rolls into 4 rectangles total, firmly press perforations to seal. Brush with butter. In a small bowl, combine sugar, coconut, rum extract and nutmeg, sprinkle over rectangles. Starting with the shorter side, roll up rectangles and press to seal ends. Cut each roll into 3 slices. Arrange cut side up in pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls (let them cool off a bit from the oven, or the glaze will melt into the rolls). Serves 12.

Glaze: mix 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 2-3 TBSP. milk and 1/4 tsp. rum extract until it's smooth.