Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle

1 chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. peanut butter chips
4 ¼ c. cold milk, divided
½ c. whipping cream
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
2 small pkgs. Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
1 small carton Cool Whip
8 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour the batter into a greased 13 x 9 x 2” baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a heavy saucepan, combine chips, ¼ c. milk and ½ c. cream. Cook and stir over low heat until chips are melted. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Place the remaining milk in a mixing bowl; beat in pudding mixes on low speed for 2 minutes. Place pudding in the fridge for 3-4 minutes to set up a bit.

To assemble, crumble half of the cake into a 4 qt. Trifle bowl or large bowl. Layer with half of the peanut butter sauce, pudding, Cool Whip and ½ of the crumbled Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; repeat layers ending with Cool Whip and remaining ½ of crumbled Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

From: Heather White

Artichoke Dip

1 (13 3/4-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts (make sure they are NOT the marinated ones.)
1 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 c. mayonnaise
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies

Combine all ingredients in baking dish. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or heat in a crock pot. Serve warm with tortilla chips or piece of French bread (I prefer it with bread!).

From: Heather White

Zella's Poppy Seed Bread

3 eggs
1 1/8 c. oil
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. milk
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 tsp. butter extract
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tblsp. poppy seeds

Beat eggs, oil & sugar. Add flour, salt, baking powder & milk. Then, add extracts and poppy seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour in two bread pans or 3 pans for smaller loaves.

1/4 c. orange juice
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. butter, almond & vanilla extracts
Prick bread while warm and drizzle glaze over entire bread. (I double the glaze when making 3 loaves).

From: Heather White

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2-3 frozen chicken breasts
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 c. salsa
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can black beans (drained - you can rinse if you'd like...but not necessary)
1 can mild green chilis

Add everything to crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove chicken from soup after 8 hours and shred. Return shredded chicken to soup and serve with cheese, sour cream and either tortilla chips or fresh salsa. (Adding 3 chicken breasts will make it a thicker soup...I like it that way). I DOUBLED this recipe for our group of about 20..and had just enough leftover for lunch the next day! It's DIVINE!!!

From: Heather White

Chicken with Coconut Sauce

1 can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)
2 jalapeƱo chiles
1 tblsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt

In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk to a gentle simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, cook the jalepenos on grill until blackened all over (15 minutes or so). (Oh please, I never let mine get that black - just some nice little grill marks.) In blender, mix coconut milk, lime juice, salt and jalapenos and blend until smooth. Rub chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through. (Make your husband do the chicken thing). Serve over rice with sauce spooned over the top. Lick the plate clean.

From: Kristi Bassett (Fiddle)
(Click here to read her review and alterations to this recipe!)

Homemade Pretzels

1 1/2 c. warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tblsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast (approximately 4 1/2 c.)
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water (I halved this)
1/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt I used kosher

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper (this is a must) and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. First time I made 8/this time I made 16 Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

From: Jessie Wade

Friday, April 18, 2008


Here's a recipe that a friend of mine has used and swears it tastes just like Cafe Rio. I think it's too much work, it would be easier to just go get a salad from Cafe Rio, but if you're into this sort of thing, you'll enjoy this!

2 pounds pork
3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso brand, medium spiciness)
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight. Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork. In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste.) If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little. Put shredded pork and sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours.

1 c. uncooked rice
1 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tblsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 tblsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime juice, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

2 tblsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tblsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. (**NOTE** we added a can of corn, drained, to the beans with a dash of cumin and chili powder, it was AWESOME! We recommend doing this even though it's not "traditional Cafe Rio")

1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno (we like it SPICY so we kept the seeds in it, if you like it mild, just remove the seeds)

Mix all ingredients together in the blender. Thats it!

3 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. diced onion
3 tblsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)

In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate for 1 hour for best flavor, or you can serve immediately.

Here is how to put it all together: First of all, we bought the aluminum deep-dish pans. (They had these at the grocery store, you will know when you see them. They look JUST like the Cafe Rio tins). Lay a tortilla in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle cheese on it, and put in the oven at 375 for about 5 min or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, add beans, rice, pork, then lettuce (we used the leafy green lettuce, not iceberg) and a little scoop of diced tomato and onions (pico de gallo). We made up some gaucamole and put some of that on the salad. We also added a little spoonful of sour cream. Add some crushed tortilla chips (we have yet to find the little tortilla strips), a shake of parmesan cheese, and top with a few cilantro leaves. Serve with the cilantro ranch dressing and there you have it!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/3 c. sugar
2 eggs

Mix well, then add and mix again:
1 c. canned pumpkin

Sift together, then add slowly:
1 c. white flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour (I didn't have whole wheat, so I just used 1 3/4 c. white flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 c. hot water
1/3 c. butter (softened)
1/2 tblsp. flax meal (optional)
Chocolate Chips (as many as you want!)
Cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on tops before baking (optional)

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes and enjoy!

White Chip Chocolate Cookies

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: About 4 Dozen

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ice Cream Sandwiches

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
12 tblsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tblsp. milk
2 to 2 1/2 pints strawberry ice cream, slightly softened

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, (or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream butter, vanilla, and sugar. Add eggs and milk, and mix until combined. Add reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula at least once. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour. After and hour, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface; use an offset spatula to unstick the dough every few turns of the rolling pin. Roll dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough using a variety of heart-shaped cookie cutters from 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, making sure there is a top and bottom cookie for each sandwich. Place hearts on a parchment-lined baking sheet; chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator; use a fork to prick holes all over the surface of the cookies. Bake until firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Using half the cookies, spoon softened strawberry ice cream about 1/2 inch thick on each underside. Place matching cookie on top of ice cream, top-side facing out. Transfer immediately to freezer to harden; repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve directly from the freezer. Sandwiches can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 3 to 4 days. (Makes 24)

From: Martha Stewart