Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stephanie's Nut Bran Muffins

This is another great recipe from my sister in law Stephanie. One thing I really like about these muffins, other than that they taste yummy, is that you can keep the batter in your fridge for up to 6 weeks and bake fresh muffins when you feel like it!

2 cups boiling water
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups All-Bran Cereal
1 cup 40% Bran Flakes
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins, optional

Combine boiling water and baking soda. Set aside to cool. Combine oil, sugar, eggs, and buttermilk. Set aside. Combine flour, salt, cereals, nuts and raisins. Add water mixture and sugar/oil mixture. Combine just until moistened. Keeps in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. (20 minutes if batter has been refrigerated)

Creme Brulee

My sister bought me a cooking torch for my birthday last year because I love Creme Brulee and I've always wanted to make it at home. Sad thing is it took me a whole year to use it because Creme Brulee isn't a dessert you can just whip up on a whim and I'm kind of a whim person when it comes to desserts. It's not that difficult to make and it only has 4 ingredients but once you cook it, it has to chill for several hours in the fridge and I just can't wait that long! I should know really is worth the wait!

1 cup heavy cream
2 T. plus 1/3 cup sugar
2 extra large of jumbo egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare some boiling water.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and 2 T. sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally until small bubbles appear around edges of pan, 5-6 minutes. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla until smooth and light. Pour hot cream mixture into egg yolks, a little at a time, beating continuously until well blended. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Divide mixture among four oz. ramekins.

Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place on middle shelf of preheated oven. Fill pan with boiling water to halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake until custard is just set, about 25 minutes. Chill for 2-3 hours.

Sprinkle remaining sugar evenly over top of cooled custards. With the cooking torch, move the flame continuously over the surface of the ramekins, in a circular motion until sugar melts and becomes golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately surrounded by fresh berries or cut-up fruit or refrigerate for later use.

Raspberry Pina Colada Punch

I came across a picture of this recipe on Pinterest and the lady posting claimed it was the best punch ever, therefore she calls it The Punch. We made this punch for New Years Eve and she was right, you will go back for refills!

The Punch
1 can frozen pina colada concentrate, thawed (Bacardi makes a good one)
1 can frozen orange pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
4 liters of diet lemon-lime soda (That’s two 2-Liters for the mathematically challenged.)
1 bag of pebble ice (You can buy it at Sonic Drive-In or at most grocery stores in the deli or meat departments.)
1 bag of frozen raspberries

*Pour the thawed concentrates into your punchbowl and stir.
*Use one of the empty cans and fill it with water four times and add it to the mixture. Stir.
*Add your diet soda to the mixture. (You can use regular sugar-filled soda if you want, but I think it gets too sweet and you will also feel guilty when you fill your glass for the sixteenth time. Which you WILL.)
*Next, add about half your bag of pebble ice.
(NOTE: Please do not insult The Punch by using crappy ice cubes from your freezer. The Punch will hate you forever.) (ANOTHER NOTE: Please do not screw up the order and add the ice before the soda. You will get an ugly foam at the top of your punch bowl.) (ONE MORE NOTE: I’m sorry if it seems like I’m micro-managing this recipe. It’s just that I have already suffered bad punch experiences so that you won’t have to. I micro-manage because I care.) Let’s see….where were we? Oh, yes. We’re ready for the crowning ingredient…
*Add your frozen raspberries to the top.

Honey Lime Tilapia

I found this recipe from a friend who had pinned it on Pinterest. I love lime, honey and fish so I knew this would turn into a yummy dinner. The girl who posted this on her website adapted it from another website which you can trace the link back from her site One Lovely Life if you want to decide which variation to use. I loved the ingredients as listed below and didn't think anything needed to be changed. Enjoy!

For the fish and marinade:
4 (4-5oz) Tilapia fillets (thawed if frozen)
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

For dredging and cooking:
1/2c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Assemble marinade by combining lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a gallon-sized zip-top bag or shallow container with a lid. Add fish and marinate in the refrigerator anywhere from 1 hour up to 24 hours*.

When ready to cook, combine flour with salt and pepper on a plate. Remove each fish fillet from the marinade and dredge lightly with the flour on both sides (just a light, light coating).

Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook fillets 2 at a time for 3-4 minutes per side or until opaque and browned (this works best if you don’t disturb the fish much while letting it cook).

Serve with lime wedges or peach salsa.

Serves 4.

*If you want to plan this meal in advance, you can prepare the fish and marinade in a large freezer bag and keep it in the freezer. Move frozen fish and marinade to the refrigerator the morning you plan to serve the fish and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. It will marinate while it thaws!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Frog Eye Salad

1 1/4 cup acini de pepe
1 3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups Cool Whip
1 cup pineapple chunks, reserve 1/4 cup juice
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)


Cook pasta in water for approximately 11 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain well. In a large bowl beat reserved pineapple juice, milk, sugar and pudding for about 2 minutes. Gently stir in pasta and remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours.

*This recipe makes a bowl large enough to feed a small army, or at least take to a potluck dinner so I usually 1/2 the recipe for my small family!

Cherry/Pineapple Jello Salad

Nana's yummy Jello salad

2 3 oz. packages cherry jello
2 cups boiling water
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, un-drained
1 can cherry pie filling

Dissolve jello in boiling water; add crushed pineapple. Refrigerate until partially set. Add cherry pie filling. Pour into 9x13 baking dish. Refrigerate 2-3 hours.

Chocolate Cream Pie

The best ever chocolate cream pie recipe from my mom. You will go back for another slice!

1/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups whole milk
3 T. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine cocoa, sugar, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan. Add milk and blend until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a soft boil and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, blend in butter and vanilla, and pour into a pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing onto surface. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

*For a variation, whip 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 2 T. sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (un-whipped) and 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter. Whisk until smooth. Add reserved whipped cream; gently fold in with a rubber spatula until combined. Spread over chocolate pie and serve.

Stephanie's Cheese Ball

Our family's favorite cheese ball recipe from our sis in law Stephanie.

2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 jar Roka Bleu Cheese
1 jar Old English Cheese
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, chopped (1 T. minced)
1 cup chopped nuts

Combine cheeses. Add onion, Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 cup nuts. Chill. Mold cheese into a ball and roll in nuts and parsley. Optional, decorate with cherries. Serve with crackers.

*We usually don't make it to the "ball" stage and just eat it straight out of the bowl!