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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fortune Cookies

While planning this years family reunion, I suggested we make fortune cookies as a way for people to draw the name of who they would serve during out time together. My brother-in-law said, "That's a great idea. Where do you get something like that made?" I just laughed and told him I could make them. They were all a little skeptical but were quite impressed when I turned these out. They are easy but do require speed. I would recommend having someone help you fold them, or bake only two at a time. They get crisp and crack very quickly.
2 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 by 1/2-inch fortune strips
Opt. - Add a few drops of food coloring for special events.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet thoroughly or use Silpat Mat.

Whip the egg whites on low speed until light and foamy. Blend in the sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form (this takes awhile).

Pour in the melted butter, flour, salt, and extracts; mix until well combined. Drop a tablespoon of the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon, spread the batter evenly into very thin 3-inch rounds. Alternatively, use the lid of a jar with a 3-inch circle punched out as a template, pour the batter in the ring, and remove. Because you must work quickly to shape these cookies, bake just 3 at a time.

Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes or until the edges are a light golden color.

Remove the cookies with a spatula and place on a work surface. Lay a fortune in the lower middle of the cookie, and gingerly (they will be hot) fold in half to make a semi-circle. Bend the edges up toward each other to make a crescent. Cool in muffin tins to hold shape until crisp. Repeat with remaining batter.

Chicken Pillows

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk or broth
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 lb. crescent roll dough

Preheat oven to 375. Mash together the cream cheese and butter. Beat in milk or broth; add the chicken, cheese, and green onion. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to mix.

Unroll crescent dough. Seal diagonal edges to get 4 rectangles. Fill each with 1/4 of the filling. Pull corners up and seal all edges.

Optional: Roll pillow in butter and crushed corn flakes before baking/freezing. Can't miss a chance to get some extra butter in there!

Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serves 4.

Try using a different cheese such as pepper jack, or adding bacon bits.

To Freeze: Just filling - Thaw completely, fill croissants, and bake as directed.
Assembled Pillow - Flash freeze on cookie sheet, then transfer to freezer bag or foodsaver. Bake from frozen at 375 until heated through.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stuffed Peppers

I used to make these in Philly for the family I nannied for. The grandfather liked these so much he said I could make them once a week and wouldn't get tired of them.

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 onions
1/4 cup garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp beef bouillon granular
1 1/2 Tbsp House Seasoning (salt, black pepper, garlic powder)
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup jarred cheese and salsa
1 cup sour cream
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped green onion
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cups hot water
8 bell peppers, any color

Saute meets with onion, garlic, 2 tsp bouillon, and house seasoning. Drain. Add rice, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, green onion, and soy sauce. Mix and stuff peppers. Cut peppers in half the tall way for smaller portions, or cut the top off and stuff for a larger serving.

Place peppers in a baking dish. Mix hot water with remaining bouillon and pour into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon broth over each pepper. Bake uncovered for another 10-15 minutes.

Filling may be frozen. Thaw completely, stuff peppers, and bake as directed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zucchini Bread

I thought this bread was not only tasty, but also beautiful, especially with the visible shreds of zucchini throughout. Enjoy!

3 eggs
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans. Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using.

Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Oven Roasted Vegetables

My sister-in-law and her husband discovered this recipe while on The South Beach Diet. It is great for all phases, including the difficult Phase 1. I requested the recipe from her after having it several times and enjoying the variety of delicious, buttery tasting vegetables.

Makes 6 servings

1 red bell pepper
1 red onion
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 450F. Cut vegetables into bite size pieces. Mix oil, salt and pepper together in a separate bowl. Then pour over veggies and toss to coat. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 9x13 glass baking dish for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender.
Optional: can also be done in tin foil over a grill.

Per Serving: 170 cal, 5 g pro, 15 g carb, 11 g fat, 2 g sat. fat, 0 mg chol, 5 g fiber, 586 mg sodium

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Spinach Strawberry Salad

This is one of my favorite go to recipes for a summer salad. The strawberries make it refreshing, the spinach makes it healthy, and the candied almonds add a crunchy texture. I have even added chicken to make this a main dish salad. This picture is of the last bite just as it lay on my plate. It says it all.

1 lb. spinach
1 qt strawberries or raspberries
1/4 cup almonds
1 Tbsp sugar

Brown almonds and sugar in a skillet until just toasted and sugar melts onto almonds. Put on wax paper to cool.

Poppy Seed Dressing
Mix together:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (I always use 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced green onion
1/4 - 1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp poppy seeds

Drizzle over spinach and strawberries just before serving. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with candied almonds.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lemon Bars

My sister-in-law makes these delicious lemon squares. They are refreshing in the summer and probably the best ones I've tasted. Thanks Amber for letting me steal the recipe off your blog. Check out her other recipes at

2 C flour
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 C butter softened
4 beaten eggs
pinch of salt
2 C sugar
1/3 C lemon juice
1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix first three ingredients and press into bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 min. Mix remaining ingredients and pour on top of crust as soon and it comes out of the oven. Bake at 350 for 25 min. Sift powder sugar over top. Serve when cooled.