Archive of ‘My Recipes’ category

Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Whipped Cream

hot chocolate with peppermint whipped cream

Earlier this month, Ashley Pahl of She Makes a Home posted a recipe on her blog for homemade hot coco topped with peppermint whipped cream. It sounded so soothing and delicious that I bookmarked the recipe. So last week when I was housebound during a two-day ice storm, I decided to give it a try.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand to make Ashley’s hot chocolate recipe–and there was no way I was braving the ice storm–so I used my recipe for hot chocolate and topped it with Ashley’s recipe for peppermint whipped cream, which she has graciously allowed me to share with all of you.

Give this recipe a try during the next bout of inclement weather in your area. It will delight your tastebuds and warm your bones.

Basic Hot Chocolate

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 3 ounces (3 full squares) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Dash of salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream, and sugar just until a skin forms on the top of the surface, about 8 minutes (don’t let the mixture reach a simmer). Remove the pan from the heat; add the chocolate and set aside until the chocolate has melted, about 1 minute. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is incorporated. (The mixture will be mottled with small pieces of chocolate.) Return the pan to medium heat and cook until the chocolate shards melt, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour into mugs, top with peppermint whipped cream, and serve immediately.

Peppermint Whipped Cream

  • 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract (it sounds like a lot but it’s not overwhelming)

Mix the whipping cream with a beater until it forms soft peaks. Add the powered sugar and peppermint extract. Beat again to incorporate fully.

Enjoy.

Homemade French Apple Pie

homemade apple pie recipe

What’s a holiday celebration without a great dessert? Whenever we have family gatherings someone inevitably asks me to bring a homemade apple pie. I have to admit I do make a mean apple pie–it’s my most requested dessert recipe. So with Christmas only two weeks away (can you believe it?), I thought I’d share my apple pie recipe for folks who are looking for a really special holiday dessert.

There are Three Secrets to Making a Great Apple Pie:

  • To make a balanced pie filling–one that’s not too sweet, too sour, too mushy, or too firm–use a variety of apples.
  • To make a flaky pie crust avoid over-handling the dough.
  • To make a super easy top crust, use crumb a topping.

Pie Pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons ice water (avoid adding additional water)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter until the shortening pieces resemble small peas. Add ice water and stir to combine (use your hands if you prefer). Do not over mix, over work, or over stretch the dough when fitting it into the pan or it will shrink during baking and become tough. Form the dough into a ball and roll it between two sheets of waxed paper (this keeps your counters and roller clean and no additional flour is necessary). Fold the dough into quarters. Place on top of the baking dish; unfold. Turn raw edges under. Crimp edges between your thumb and fore fingers or use a fork. Bake the crust, unfilled, at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until it is lightly browned. (This pre-baking step keeps the bottom crust from becoming soggy.) Cool slightly before filling.

Apple Filling:

  • 8 apples peeled, cored, and sliced (2 Granny Smith, 2 Golden Delicious, 2 Braeburn, 2 Jonagold)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate several hours (or overnight). Using a slotted spoon (you only need a small amount of juice), spoon into prepared pie crust.

French Apple Pie Crumb Topping:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour

Mix all ingredients into pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle over top of pie. Make at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (or until the apples are soft and the crust and pie crumbs are golden brown.

Philly Cheesesteak Soup

Philly Cheesesteak Soup

Hi everybody. How’s the weather in your area? It’s seriously cold here today. The temperature is below freezing and the wind is blowing like crazy. It feels more like mid winter than fall. So I thought I’d make some soup for lunch to chase the chill away. And this recipe for Philly Cheesesteak soup that I found in the Foot Network Magazine fit the bill perfectly–after I tweaked the ingredients to improve the flavor and eliminated a few unnecessary steps to speed preparation.

If you love Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches, then you’ll love this rich, cheesy soup. I served it with a tossed salad, crusty bread, and iced tea.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
8 cups chicken broth
2 hoagie rolls, cut into cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces provolone cheese, shredded
1 pound shaved beef steak or roast beef (I used Steak-Umm frozen sliced beef)
1/4 cup jarred sliced pepperoncini
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery seeds, and garlic; cook for 3 minutes. Add the flour, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce; cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the cheddar and provolone cheese and slowly whisk into the soup until melted. Pour the soup in batches into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour back into the pot and simmer on low.

Meanwhile, toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown, about 7 minutes; set aside.

While the croutons are baking, cook the frozen beef slices in a large skillet until browned. Stir in the pepperoncini and parsley then season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls; top with the beef, croutons, and more parsley.

Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice

Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice

Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice

One of my favorite fall drinks is a Starbucks caramel apple spice. My daughter and I fell in love with this warm, spicy drink several years ago when we were commuting together on a drizzly fall day. Traffic was slow and we were cold and frustrated, so we stopped by a Starbucks drive-through window and decided to give this drink a try. It was love at first sip–so warm and soothing–a perfect pick-me-up on a dreary day.

It’s funny how a simple act like stopping for a warm drink on a dreary day can etch such a pleasant memory in your mind that you find yourself craving the same drink on cold, rainy days like today. Luckily you can easily recreate this delicious drink at home. Here’s how:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 pumps of Starbucks Cinnamon Dulce syrup (you can purchase a bottle with a pump dispenser at your local Starbucks shop or buy it online at http://www.starbucks.com)
  • Canned whipped cream
  • Caramel syrup
  • Nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

Microwave the apple juice in a microwave-safe mug for 1.5 minutes. Add two pumps of Starbucks Cinnamon Dulce syrup; stir to combine. Top with whipped cream. Drizzle caramel sauce on top. Sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired.

This makes a delicious treat anytime, but I generally serve this as quick a late-night dessert. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Amish Onion Bread

Amish onion bread

Hi, everybody, how’s your weekend going? It’s been cold and rainy here for the last four days so I’ve been occupying myself by trying some new recipes. I made Amish onion bread and served it with my almost home-made vegetable soup. It was so delicious that I have to share the recipe. It makes a huge loaf so serve it when you have a big crowd or cut the recipe in half. Get the recipes for Amish onion bread and almost homemade vegetable soup here and here.

Almost homemade  vegetable soup

One Rotisserie Chicken, Three Easy Meals

One chicken--three quick meals

There’s nothing I like better than a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings–mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread stuffing, a side vegetable, and cranberry sauce. But I rarely have enough time during the week to prepare a big meal from scratch. So I often rely on rotisserie chicken and pre-cooked side dishes to get dinner on the table in a flash. Rotisserie chicken is convenient and economical–one bird can yield several meals. This week I prepared three meals from one chicken. Here’s how I did it:

Dinner No. 1–Lazy Cook’s Chicken Dinner

For this meal I microwaved the chicken until it was heated through (~ 5-6 minutes), microwaved a container of ready-cooked mashed potatoes, prepared cornbread stuffing using the microwave instructions on the side of the box, and opened a can of vegetables and a jar of chicken gravy, poured them into saucepans, and heated them through. Finally, I opened a can of jellied cranberry sauce and sliced it. For this meal I was keeping it real–really easy, that is.

Dinner No. 2–Lazy Cook’s Chicken Sandwiches

On day two, I sliced some croissants and topped them with slices of leftover chicken breast that I warmed in the microwave, and topped that with mayonnaise, leftover sliced cranberry sauce, and salt and pepper. I served this meal with fresh fruit and iced tea. Easy, peasy.

Dinner No. 3–Not-So-Lazy Cook’s Chicken Pie

This meal features all the leftovers from Day 1′s meal–chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and stuffing (yes, it’s in there), plus a few additional ingredients. This dish is more time consuming to prepare than the others, but it’s well worth the effort. Here’s what you’ll need to make a chicken pie:

  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup potatoes, cubed (no peeling necessary)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1-2 cups de-boned chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken gravy (or chicken broth)
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1-2 cups cornbread stuffing
  • 1 cup vegetables (corn, green beans, or peas)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 frozen pie shells
  • 2 cups Asiago cheese, shredded

In a large skillet, saute the celery, onions, carrots, and potatoes in butter over low heat until soft (about 10-15 minutes), stirring occasionally so the vegetables don’t brown. Stir in the chicken, gravy (or chicken broth), half-and-half, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, sugar, salt, and poultry seasoning and heat through. Pour into two frozen pie shells, top with shredded Asiago cheese, place on a cookie sheet, and bake in a 400° oven for 30 minutes, or until the pie crust and cheese are golden brown. Serve with a tossed green salad.

What’s Cooking–Cheeseburger Rice

Cheeseburger rice recipe

I love cheeseburgers. I mean, who doesn’t love a good burger? I like mine served on a potato bun topped with mayo, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Sometimes, I prefer to keep things simple and top my burger with just a squirt of ketchup and yellow mustard. Other times, I like to recreate a favorite fast food burger, like this copycat Roy Rogers Double-R-Bar burger.

When it comes to cheeseburgers, I also like to think outside the bun. This cheeseburger salad is one of my favorites. So is this recipe for cheeseburger rice. The original recipe was created by Kraft foods, but I’ve adapted it to suit my taste. Adults like it, kids LOVE it, it takes just 10 minutes to prepare, and clean up is a breeze–there’s only one skillet to clean. Here’s what you’ll need to make cheeseburger rice:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 heaping tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 cups instant white rice
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

In a large skillet, brown meat and onions over medium heat; drain. Add water, ketchup, and mustard. Stir in rice. Sprinkle with cheese; cover. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Copycat Roy Rogers Double-R-Bar Burger

Copycat Roy Rogers DoubleRBar Burgers

Dinner Brought to You by Roy Rogers, Martha Stewart, Julia Childs, the Bealeton Farmer’s Market, My Sister, and Me!

My sister and I spent a week together relaxing and doing what we like to do best–chatting for hours; touring Main Street in Warrenton, Virginia;  browsing through antique shops; shopping at the Bealeton farmer’s market; and cooking the fresh fruits and vegetables we purchased there. I took the opportunity to introduce my sister to my copycat version of Roy Rogers Double-R-Bar burgers. I haven’t seen a Roy Rogers restaurant in years, and I really had a craving for a good, ole’ Double-R.

My sister whipped up a batch of green beans almondine ala Julia Childs and I whipped up a batch of Mexican corn on the cob ala Martha Stewart. The burgers were fabulous–we topped them with shaved ham, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, mild horseradish sauce, and coleslaw–and the green beans and corn on the cob were out of this world. We rounded out the meal with the best cantaloupe we’d had all season. It was such a fabulous late summer meal that I just had to share it with all of you.

There’s still one more week before summer is over and the kids have go back to school. If you’re looking for a fabulous Labor Day meal to share with your family or friends, this combination is a must try. Recipes are provided below.

Copycat Double-R-Bar Burger Ingredients

  • Lean ground beef
  • Shaved ham
  • Sliced cheddar cheese
  • Barbeque sauce
  • Mild horseradish sauce
  • Coleslaw (optional)
  • Hamburger buns (I used Martin’s potato buns–my fave)

In a large skillet, cook the burgers over medium heat until they cooked medium well (no pink in the center). Top the burgers with two slices of shaved ham and a slice of cheddar cheese. Cover and allow the cheese to melt. Place on buns and top with BBQ sauce, horseradish sauce, and coleslaw.

Green Bean Almondine Ingredients

  • Fresh, whole green beans
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Clean and snap the ends off of the green beans. Cook in a skillet with a small amount of water until the beans are crisp tender (about five minutes). Drain, remove from the pan, and set aside. Add the butter and slivered almonds to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the almonds are golden brown (about three minutes). Add the green beans back to the skillet; stir to coat. Cook until heated through.

Mexican Corn on the Cob Ingredients

  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Corn on the cob, husks removed
  • Butter
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chili powder
  • Lime wedges

Rub the corn with butter then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each ear in plastic wrap. Microwave until crisp tender (about 1-2 minutes for two ears). Remove plastic wrap. Brush corn with mayonnaise and roll in Parmesan cheese to coat. Sprinkle with chili powder. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

Quick Summer Meals

quick summer dinner

Savory BLT sandwiches, sliced cantaloupe, and crispy corn on the cob–what a great combo. I threw together this quick summer meal after a visit to the farmer’s market and it was so easy and delicious that I just have to share. I purchased everything pictured here–except the bread and mayo–at a local farmer’s market. Everything was freshly picked and organic. Even the bacon came from a local farmer. I like supporting local food producers, I like serving healthy meals to my family, and I like the friendly folks I meet at open air markets. Trips to the farmer’s markets are one of the pleasures of summer. Summertime and the livin’ is easy….

Brownie Cupcakes

brownie cupcakes

Redemption cupcakes. Cupcakes you bake to redeem yourself after the cupcakes you brought to work last week (made from a recipe you’d never tried before) were an epic fail. That’s what my sister calls the cupcakes she brought to our family watercolor fest. Made with just five ingredients, you can whip up a batch of these decadent brownie cupcakes any time–whether you need to redeem yourself or not. These cupcakes are so moist that icing is not necessary, but if you’re an icing lover this fluffy white icing made with marshmallow cream is the perfect topping. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make my sister’s redemption cupcakes:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 4 squares semisweet baking chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Combine the melted butter and chocolate until the chocolate is melted. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a cupcake pan prepared with cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Icing Ingredients

  • 1 jar marshmallow cream
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.

So the next time you serve a dessert that flops to friends or coworkers and you want to restore their faith in your cooking skills, redeem yourself with these babies.

 

1 2 3 6