Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crescent Moon



Ingredients:
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners' sugar
How to make:
  1. In nonstick skillet, lightly toast walnuts over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently, until nuts are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Transfer walnuts to food processor, and add 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Process until finely ground. In large bowl, with mixer on high, beat butter and remaining granulated sugar until fluffly, about 3 minutes. Gradually add flour, sour cream, vanilla, salt, and walnut mixture until well combined. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into disk. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Flour hands lightly. Working with  half of dough at a time, shape heaping teaspoonfuls into crescents. Place crescents on baking sheet, 2" apart. Bake 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet 3 minutes. While cookies are slightly warm, dredge in confectioners' sugar to coat. Cool completely on wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough and sugar. Store cookies in airtight container. Makes about 6 dozen.

Sweet Stockings

Dazzle those kids and beloved family to you this holiday season with these easy-to-make-and-beautiful-to-behold sweet Xmas stocking cookies.
  

Ingredients:

1. Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
2. Decorations
  • Royal Icing (recipe below)
  • Green and red food coloring
  • Green, red, and white sprinkles
3. Royal Icing
  • 1 box (1 lb.) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoon powdered egg whites
  • 5 to 6 tablespoon water

How to make:
  1. In large bowl, with mixer on medium-high, beat butter and sugar until fluffly. Beat in eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into disk. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Roll dough to 1/4" thickness on floured surface. Using 4" stocking-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer to baking sheet, 1" part. Using drinking straw, punch hole in top corner of each stocking for hanging. Bake 16 minutes, or until golden. Cool 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire rack, and cool completely.
  3. To decorate: Put 1/2 cup icing in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use. Divide remaining icing into two bowls, and tint one batch green and the other red. Transfer 1/3 cup each to resealable plastic bags.
  4. Thin each remaining colored icing with 1 tablespoon water. Using tip of index finger, spread green or red icing over cookie, leaving top 1" uniced. Let dry 30 minutes. Spread reserved white icing on top part of cookie, and cover with colored sprinkles. Snip off corner of icing bags. Decorate stockings with contrasting icing as shown on picture above. Makes about 2 dozen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

St. Nick Cookies

Baking cookies at Christmas is a tradition for many people. It brings families and friends together with the warm goodness of cookies fresh from the oven. Try this tasty St. Nick decorated cookies.


Ingredients:
  • 1 batch sugar-cookie dough (recipe below)
  • Royal icing (recipe below)
  • red food coloring white sprinkles
  • black tube icing
  • hot cinnamon candles
Sugar-cookie dough
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, with mixer on medium-high, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into disk. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.

Royal icing
  • 1 box (1lb) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons powdered egg whites
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons water
In a large bowl, with mixer on low, beat together all ingredients until well combined. Increase speed to high, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. If not using immediately, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of icing and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (Bring icing to room temperature before using.)

How to make the St. Nick cookies:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Roll dough to 1/4" thickness on floured surface. Using 3" santa-face cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. Carefully transfer to baking sheet, 1" apart. Bake 14 to 18 minutes, or until golden. Cool 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire rack, and let cool completely.
  2. To decorate: Thin 1 cup royal icing with 1 tablespoon water, and tint red with food coloring. Using tip of index finger, spread red icing over hat, let dry 30 minutes. Spread white icing on pom-pom and bottom edge of hat. Cover with sprinkles. Spread santa's beard with white icing, and fluff with tip of spoon. For face, pipe black-icing eyes and attach cinnamon-candy nose. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Crab Cakes


You know when you're eating a great crab cake: Chunks of meaty crab accented with ingredients hand-picked to bring out the crustacean's sweet and briny flavour almost melt in your mouth. Here's how you can make a batch at home. Repeat with us: Toss, pat, fry ...toss, pat, fry; no overmixing allowed. Then, and only then, will your delightful cakes reach that impeccable balance between tender center and crunchy exterior.
Hold that thought, and walk with us through the steps to crab-cake mastery. You start by mixing together everything but the crab. When that's all well combined, carefully toss the crabmeat with the mayonnaise mixture, just until the meat is moistened. Bring your bowl of potential crab cakes to the stove, heat your pan, and start forming. Shape them by gathering the mixture into a ball in your hand. Pat the ball into a patty. Then press on bread crumbs. To get evenly sized cakes, scoop the crabmeat mixture into your hand with a half-cup measure.
If you'd rather go freehand, just scoop up an amount that looks right to you, shape into a cake, and cook as directed. (Make sure they're about 1/2 inch thick so cakes will be cooked through by the time they're browned.)
As you finish forming each cake, lower it gently into the hot pan. When the cakes are fried to a nice toasty color (about the shade of a pancake), serve them with the Tartar Sauce we provide (recipe below), your favorite cocktail sauce, mustard, or just a wedge of fresh lemon


Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 6- to 8- oz. pkg. fresh or frozen lump crabmeat or one 6- ounce can crabmeat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (green part only; chop and set aside the white part for the Tartar sauce (see recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoon mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  • 1 recipe Tartar Sauce
How to make:
  1. Thaw crabmeat in the refrigerator, if frozen; drain. In a medium mixing bowl combine egg, 4 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, the carrot, celery, onion, mayonnaise, dry mustard, salt, and hot pepper sauce. Gently stir in crabmeat just until combined. With wet hands, gently shape mixture into four 1.2-inch-thick patties, about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
  2. Place remaining crumbs in a shallow dish. Coat both sides of the patties with crumbs.
  3. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add crab cakes. Cook about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and heated through. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, if desired, and Tartar Sauce. Makes 4 servings. *When using canned crabmeat, omit the e1/4 teaspoon salt.
Tartar Sauce:
In a small bowl stir together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves, 1 tablespoon sweet or dill pickle relish, 1 tablespoon capers, and 1 tablespoon chopped white ends of green onions.


  1. To keep the crab intact, add it last so you'll have lots of big savory chunks to bite into.
  2. Pat lightly into shape; cakes will seem too crumbly at this  stage, but cooking will firm them up.
  3. The crabmeat is already cooked, but the eggs aren't, so keep cakes on the heat until they are a nice golden brown. An instant-read thermometer should reach 160 degree F with the tip of the probe inserted sideways into the cake.



Nutrition facts per cake and 1 tablespoon Tartar Sauce: 298 calories, 26 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 119 mg cholesterol, 560 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 0 g dietary fiber, 11 g protein.
Daily values: 25% vit. A, 3% vit. C, 7% calcium, 6% Iron.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Apple-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Tart apples and sweet apricot preserves jazz up these chicken breasts.


Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 3 teaspoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 (Granny Smith) apple, peeled and grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 bone-in full chicken breasts
How to make:
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In saucepan, melt 2 teaspoons butter over high heat. Stir in onion and cook 3 minutes. Stir in apple, apricot preserves, salt, and cinnamon. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool 5 minutes.
  2. Peel skin off chicken breast, leaving it attached at wing joint. Place half of apple mixture on each breast; fold skin back over filling and secure with toothpick. Melt remaining 1 teaspoon butter and brush over tops of chicken breasts. Place in baking pan, and bake 45 minutes.
  3. Let chicken rest 10 minutes. Peel breast meat away from bone and slice.
Nutrition per serving: 414 calories, 55 g protein, 17 g fat, 7 g carbohydrate, 31 mg calcium, 1 g fiber.

Patwork Pie

Let your child help you cut the patch-work pieces of dough for these savory pies while you make the filling.


Prep time: 12 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings


Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and thyme
  • Pinch nutmed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 package (1 lb.) frozen Italian style mixed vegetables, defrosted
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/2 (15 oz.) package refrigerated piecrust (1 crust)
How to make:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large saucepot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in flour, pepper, thyme, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth and half-and-half. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly for 3 minutes. Stir in mixed vegetables and chicken. Divided mixture among 8 one-cup baking dishes, or spoon into 2-quart baking dish.
  2. Unfold pie crust; use fluted pastry wheel or pizza cutter to cut pastry into randomly shaped pieces. Place pieces over top of filling, overlapping edges to create a patchwork pattern. Bake 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
Nutrition per serving: 272 calories, 10 g protein, 15 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 23 mg calcium, 2 g fiber.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Honey Drumsticks

Made for little hands, these sweet drumsticks will have everyone licking their fingers.


Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 10 chicken drumsticks
How to make:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degree F. Line large bakin pan with aluminium foil.
  2. In bowl, combine honey, ketchup, soy sauce, and ginger. Add drumsticks and toos to coat. Place drumsticks on baking pan, and bake 30 minutes.
Nutrition per serving: 148 calories, 14 g protein, 6 g fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 8 mg calcium, 0 g fiber.

Five-Minute Burritos

You can make this versatile dish with cooked pork, beef, or turkey.


Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup diced ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup salsa, divided
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Salsa (Optional)
How to make:
     Divide black beans, rice, chicken, avocado, and carrot among the center of flour tortillas. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon each cheddar cheese and salsa. Foid tortillas sides over mixture, microwave on high 1 minute. Sprinkle tortillas with 1 tablespoon each remaining cheese and salsa. Microwave 1 minute longer, or until cheese melts. Serve with sour cream and salsa, if desired.

Nutrition per serving (without sour cream and additional salsa): 513 calories, 34 g protein, 17 g fat, 54 g carbohydrate, 209 mg calcium, 6 g fiber.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oven-Fried Chicken

This crispy chicken has all the flavor of pan fried --but with far less fat.


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper sauce
  • 1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 lbs.) cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable cooking spray
How to make:
  1. Heat oven to 425 degree F. Line baking pan with aluminium foil, and spray with vegetable cooking spray.
  2. Combine buttermilk and pepper sauce in reseable plastic bag. Remove skin from all chicken pieces except wings. Put chicken in bag, seal, and shake to coat. Refrigerate 10 minutes or up tp 2 hours. Combine bread crumbs, cornmeal, poultry seasoning, and salt in shallow bowl. Drain chicken and dredge in crumb mixture.
  3. Place coated chicken pieces on prepared baking pan, and spray well with vegetable cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes, spray again (do not turn chicken), and bake 20 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes.
Nutrition per serving: 210 calcium, 25 g protein, 7 g fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 51 mg calcium, 1 g fiber.

Sweet-And-Sour Stir-Fry

This classic stir-fry has a kid-friendly twist --a sweet and tangy sauce that's made with ketchup.


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks in juice
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders, halved
  • 1 cup sliced red pepper
How to make:
  1. In bowl, combine broccoli, carrots, and enough boiling water to cover. Let stand 3 minutes. Drain vegetables well. 
  2. Drain juice from pineapple reserving 1/3 cup. Set chunks aside. In small bowl, stir together pineapple juice, ketchup, cornstarch, sugar, teriyaki sauce, and garlic.
  3. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and red pepper; stir fry until chicken browns, about 4 minutes. Stir in carrots and broccoli; cook 2 minutes.
  4. Restir pineapple-juice mixture, and pour into skillet. Cook 1 minute. Add pineapple chunks. Stir-fry 3 minutes or until vegetables are crip-tender.
Nutrition per serving:  226 calories, 22 g protein, 4 g fat, 27 g carbohydrate, 53 mg calcium, 3 g fiber.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PO-TACOS

Hearty and versatile, potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates, iron, and potassium --nutrients that growing bodies need for energy. And there are lots of delicious varieties to try. Here's one of the example of healthy potato recipes you can make at home.




Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 medium potatoes, baked
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomato
How to make:
  1. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ground turkey, and break up with a fork. Stir carrot and garlic, and continue cooking until meat is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in water, tomato paste, chili powder, and salt. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut top off hot potatoes, and scoop out some of the flesh. Spoon taco mixture into potatoes, and top with cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Warm Potato Salad

Hearty and versatile, potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates, iron, and potassium --nutrients that growing bodies need for energy. And there are lots of delicious varieties to try. Here's one of the example of healthy potato recipes you can make at home.


Ingredients:
How to make:
  1. Place potatoes in large saucepan, and add enough cold salted water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in peas and carrots, and cook until carrots are tender, about 1 minute.
  2. Drain vegetables well. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in quarters and place in large bowl with peas and carrots.
  3. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp, and remove from pan. Crumble and set aside. Add vinegar, mustard, and pepper to drippings in pan, and whisk to mix. Pour warm dressing over potato mixture. Sprinkle with bacon, and stir to coat. Makes 6 cups.

Jack-O-Lantern

Carving pumpkins is lot of fun. Although some design may look complicated, but as long as you have a pumpkin carving kit which are now available in most stores and a tiny saw, all it takes is time and patience.



Or if you want to frugal it, these are what you need: 
  • A pumpkin
  • A sharp kitchen knife
  • Metal spoon/ ice-cream scoop
  • Candle with a holder
  • And your imagination

    5 basic steps to carve your pumpkin:
    1. Cut a large circle around the pumpkin sted to make a "lid" you can pull out. The whole should be large enough to easily get your hand inside the pumpkin for cleaning. 
    2. Scoop out pumpkin innards. Thoroughly clean out the seeds and pulp from the inside of the gourd. You can use a large metal spoon or an ice cream scoop works well.
    3. Draw a face or design on the outside of pumpkin. Use your imagination or a pinned on template (poke holes around template lines onto your pumpkin with a pin or big needle to transfer design).
    4. Carve out your design. With a sharp kitchen knife or pumpkin cutting tool, carefully carve out the pieces to make your face or design. Expect design "chunks" to come out in several pieces. Remember, this is sculpting!
    5. Clean and Illuminate. After your pumpkin is carved and cleaned, illuminate the inside with a lit candle. (Special pumpkin mountable candles/holders are recommended for safety.)

    For a unique Jack-o' lantern, add a little glow paint, or fake blood. And you can insert a bowl into a carved pumpkin and add dry ice and warm water to create an extra spooky, smoke filled jack-o'lantern

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Mediterranean Chicken Pie

    This savory Moroccan dish, traditionally called bisteeya, offers the rich flavors of North Africa. Two precooked chickens are enough for 2 pies; it's easiest to pull the meat from the bone while the chicken is still warm.

    Prep time: 30 minutes
    Bake time: 25 minutes
    Yield: 6 servings per pie

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup sliced almonds
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
    • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 cups chopped onion
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 package (10 oz.) shredded carrots (2 1/2 cups)
    • 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
    • 5 cups shredded cooked chicken
    • 1/2 cup golden raisins
    • 1 teaspoons black pepper
    • 16 phyllo sheets (17"x12")
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
    How to make: 
    1. Heat oven to 425 degree F. In bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, process almonds, 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, and cinnamon for 30 seconds. Set aside.
    2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until softened. Add coriander; cook 1 minute. Stir in carrots and 3/4 cup broth; cook 2 minutes, until carrots softened. Transfer to large bowl; stir in chicken, raisins, salt, and pepper.
    3. Place 2 sheets of phyllo in a round 8" cake pan, with dough overhanging sides. Brush dough inside pan with butter. Place 6 more sheets in pan, spoke-wheel fashion, 2 at a time (doubled), buttering between sheets of phyllo sheets covered to prevent them from drying out.
    4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup almond mixture over phyllo in bottom of pan. Spoon half of chicken mixture into pan, top with 1/4 cup almond mixture, and pour 1/4 cup broth over almonds. Fold overhanging dough over pie filling, buttering between sheets of phyllo. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make the second pie in another 8" round cake pan. Wrap 1 pie tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.
    5. Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes in pan, flip onto serving plate, and sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar over pie.
    Nutrition per serving: 347 calories, 21 g protein, 17 g fat, 28 g carbohydrate, 52 mg calcium, 2 g fiber.

    To heat: Thaw pie overnight in refrigerator. When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and follow directions in step 5.

    Snowman Cake

    Bring out the child in everyone with an enchanting snowman, made with chocolate-mint cake and melt-in-your-mouth icing. Candy eyes and a chocolate-cookie hat help bring him to life.

    Prep time: 55 minutes
    Bake time: 40 minutes
    Yield: 12 servings

    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup milk 
    • 1 teaspoon mint extract
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
    • 3 large eggs
          Frosting:
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 4 large egg whites
    • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
    • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
                                                               Gather all the sweet treats for decorating
          Decoration
    • 1 Ring Ding or Ding Dong
    • 1 old-fashioned chocolate cookie
    • Mini blue M&M's
    • 2 blue taffy rolls (Airheads)
    • 2 Junior Mints
    • 1 Jelly orange slice, trimmed
    • 1 thin 2" lengthwise black-licorice string
    • 3 blue candy melts or nonpareils
    • Clear rock candy

      How to make:
      1. Heat oven to 375 degree F. Grease and flour two 4-cup and two 1 1/2-cup ovenproof bowls. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In measuring cup, combine milk and mint extract.
      2. In large bowl, beat together sugar and butter on low speed until blended, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and beat 2 minutes, or until light and creamy. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs. One at a time, beating well after each. Alternate flour mixture and milk mixture; beat until batter is smooth, occassionally scraping sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
      3. Divide batter among prepared bowls. Bake 30 minutes. Remove 1 1/2-cup bowls, and let cool. Continue baking 4-cup cakes until center comes out clean when inserted with a cake tester, about 10 minutes longer. Cool in bowls for 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. 
      4. Meanwhile, prepare frosting: In the top of a double broiler, oven simmering (not boiling) water, beat together sugar, water, egg whites, light corn syrup, and cream of tartar on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high, and beat constantly for 10 to 12 minutes, or until stiff peaks form, scrapping sides occasionally with rubber spatula. Makes about 4 cups.
      5. To assemble cake: Trim the flat side of each cake layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting on trimmed sides of cakes. Place same-size layers together to form two round shapes. Stand cake upright, and place smaller cake on top of larger one to form the snowman shape. Secure cake layers together by inserting a trimmed wooden skewer.
      6. To decorate cake: Spread a thin layer of frosting onto bottom of Ring Ding, and secure to cookie. Spoon remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2" star tip. Pipe border around Ring Ding and place blue M&M's onto border to create a decorative hat. Place taffies together and shape into a scarf. Set the hat and scarf aside to firm up.
      7. Transfer cake to a serving platter. Working down from the top, pipe star shapes around the entire cake. (If shapes are too pointy, gently tap down with fingertips.) For the face, arrange Junior Mints for the eyes, trimmed orange slice for the nose, and licorice string for the mouth. Wrap scarf around the neck. Place candy melts down middle of body for buttons; top with hat. Scatter rock candy around cake and serve.

        Wednesday, September 22, 2010

        BBQ-Pork Sandwiches

        This is a perfect dinner to freeze and reheat - it's kid-pleasing flavors actually improve over time.


        Prep time: 5 minutes
        Cook time: 25 minutes
        Yield: 8 servings

        Ingredients:
        • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
        • 1 large onion, chopped
        • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
        • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
        • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        • 1 cup ketchup
        • 1/4 cup honey
        • 1/4 cup orange juice
        • 2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
        • 1 pkg (2lbs.) pork tenderloin, trimmed and thinly sliced
        • 8 sandwich buns
        • Coleslaw (optional)
        • Pickles (optional)
        How to make:
        1. In 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in chili powder, dry mustard, add cinnamon. Cook 1 minute. Add ketchup, honey, orange juice, and vinegar. Bring mixture to a boil and add sliced pork tenderloin. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
        2. Place half of BBO-pork mixture in a resealable container; cool to room temperature, cover, and place in freezer. Place 4 sandwich buns in resealable storage bag, and store in freezer.
        3. Divide remaining BBQ pork among remaining sandwich buns, and serve with coleslaw and pickles, if desired.
        Nutrition per serving: 364 calories, 30 g protein, 9 g fat, 43 g carbohydrate, 62 mg calcium, 2 g fiber.

        To reheat: Defrost BBQ pork in refrigerator overnight. Reheat mixture in saucepan over medium-low heat, or microwave until heated through. Defrost sandwich buns to room temperature.

        Mini Meat Loaves with Ketchup Glazes

        These individual-size loaves are a great instant meal for busy families. Keep several in the freezer to reheat for dinner, or slice up for lunch-box sandwiches.


        Prep time: 15 minutes
        Bake time: 40 minutes
        Yield: 8 meat lovers

        Ingredients:
        1. Meat Loaves:
        • 2 lbs. lean ground round beef
        • 1 small onion, finely chopped
        • 2 packets (98 oz. each) instant oatmeal, regular flavor
        • 2 large eggs
        • 3/4 cup ketchup
        • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
        • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
        • 1 teaspoon salt
        2. Glaze:
        • 1/3 cup ketchup
        • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
        How to make:
        1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In large bowl, mix together meat, onion, instant oatmeal, eggs, ketchup, milk Worcestershire sauce, and salt until well-combined. Divided meat mixture into 8 servings and shape into individual loaves. Place meat loaves in a 9" x 13" baking pan.
        2. Prepare glaze: In a small bowl, blend together ketchup and brown sugar. Brush tops and sides of meat loaves; bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degree F when inserted into center of loaves. Let cool 10 minutes.
        3. Serve 4 meat loaves with mashed potatoes, if desired. Cool remaining meat loaves for 25 minutes. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or waxed paper and freeze.
        Nutrition per serving: 379 calories, 25 g protein, 21 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 71 mg calcium, 1 g fiber.

        To reheat: Place meat loaves in a pan, and thaw in refrigerator overnight. Unwrap and bake 15 minutes in 350 degree F oven, or microwave loaves just until heated through.

        Vegetable Manicotti

        Our speedy, healty version of a classic. By adding extra liquid to the dish, we've eliminated the need to cook the shells before stuffing them.


        Prep time: 20 minutes
        Bake time: 55 minutes
        Yield: 14 manicottis

        Ingredients:
        • 2 teaspoons olive oil
        • 1 yellow squash, chopped
        • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
        • 1 15oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
        • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone or mozzarella, divided
        • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
        • 2 large eggs
        • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
        • 14 pieces (8 oz. box) manicotti, uncooked
        • 1 jar (26 oz.) marinara sauce
        • 1 cup water
        How to make:
        1. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add squash and zucchini. Cook, stirring. Until vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.
        2. In large bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup provolone, Parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Transfer cheese mixture to a large resealable storage bag. Push mixture toward one corner and twist bag closed. Make a 3/4" cut in a corner of bag, and squeeze filling into each pasta tube.
        3. In bowl, combine marinara sauce and water. Spread 2/3 cup each into two 2-quart baking dishes, arranging in a single layer. Top with remaining marinara sauce.
        4. Cover 1 pan with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with 1/4 cup provolone cheese. Bake 10 minutes, or until cheese melts.
        5. Cover remaining dish tightly with double layer plastic wrap and freeze.
        Nutrition per manicotti: 207 calories, 11 g protein, 9 g fat, 20 g carbohydrate, 215 mg calcium, 1 g fiber.

        To reheat:  Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove plastic wrap, cover with foil, and follow baking directions in step 4.

        Double-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

        Oblong russets are a good choice for double baking. The brown skin crisps nicely, and the flesh has flaky texture that freezes well.


        Prep time: 25 minutes
        Cook time: 30 minutes if using a microwave, 75 minutes if using a standard oven
        Yield: 8 servings

        Ingredients:
        • 8 russet or baking potatoes (about 3/4 lbs. each)
        • 8 slices bacon
        • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
        • 4 cups cooked broccoli florets
        • 2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
        • 3 tablespoons butter
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
        • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
        How to make:
        1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Prick potatoes several times with fork. Place in microwave oven, four at a time; cook 18 to 22 minutes. If using a standard oven, bake 60 minutes, or until potatoes are softened and cooked through. Let cool 15 minutes.
        2. While potatoes are baking. Cook bacon in a large skillet over high heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate; crumble. Remove all but 1 tablespoon. Bacon drippings from skillet. Add onion and cook until softened, about 1 minute; cool.
        3. Slice open skin from each potato; carefully scoop out pulp, leaving shell intact. Place pulp in a large bowl, mash, and stir in bacon, onion, broccoli, sour cream, butter, salt, and pepper.
        4. Stuff potato shells with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle tops of potatoes with cheese. Place 4 potatoes in oven and bake 15 minutes, or until cheese melts and potato is heated through. Store remaining potatoes in container with lid and freeze.
        Nutrition per serving: 422 calories, 13 g protein, 14 g fat, 63 g carbohydrate, 118 mg calcium, 7 g fiber.

        Note: To reheat, thaw potatoes in refrigerator overnight. Place in baking pan, and cook 25 minutes in a 350 degree F oven, or microwave until heated through.

        Tuesday, September 21, 2010

        Chocolate Cream Pie

        Win friends and influence people with this indulgent pie. For pudding lovers, pour the hot filling into custard cups.


        Prep time: 35 minutes plus cooling and chilling
        Bake time: 10 minutes
        Makes: 10 servings

        Ingredients:
        • Chocolate Wafer Crumb Crust (recipes follows)
        • 3/4 cup sugar
        • 1/3 cup corn starch
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 3 3/4 cups whole milk
        • 5 large egg yolks
        • 3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, melted
        • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into pieces
        • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
        • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
        • Chocoate curls, optional
        How to make:
        1. Prepare crust as recipes directs.
        2. Meanwhile, in heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt; with wire whisk, stir in milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened and boils; boil 1 minute longer. In small bowl, with wire whisk, lightly beat egg yolks, beat 1/2 cup hot-milk mixture into beaten egg yolks. Slowly pour egg yolk mixture back into milk mixture, stirring rapidly to prevent curdling. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is very thick or until temperature on thermometer reaches 160 degree F.
        3. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in melted chocolate, butter, and vanilla until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Pour hot chocolate filling into cooled crust; press plastic wrap onto surface. Refrigerate until filling is set, about 4 hours.
        4. To serve, in small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form; spoon over chocolate filling. Top with chocolate curls if desired.
        Each serving: About 415 calories, 7 g protein, 38 g carbohydrate, 28 g total fat (16 saturated), 171 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium.

        Sunday, September 19, 2010

        Cool Lime Pie

        In this frosty version of Key lime pie, we swirled vanilla ice cream into the condensed-milk mixture. You'll need lots of fresh lime juice (zap limes for about ten seconds in microwave so they're easier to squeeze) and a store-bought graham-cracker crust.


        Prep time: 20 minutes plus freezing
        Makes: 10 servings

        Ingredients:
        • 4 to 5 limes
        • 1 can (14 ounces) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
        • 1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
        • 1 ready-to-use graham-cracker piecrust (6 ounces)
        • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
        • Lime-peel slivers for garnish
        How to make:
        1. From limes, finely grate 4 teaspoons peel and squeeze 2/3 cup juice. In large bowl, with wire whisk, stir undiluted condensed milk, lime peel, and lime juice until blended.
        2. Whisk ice cream into condensed-milk mixture until evenly blended (mixture will be the consistency of sour cream).
        3. Pour ice-cream mixture into piecrust. Freeze at least 6 hours or until firm. If not serving pie sameday, wrap and freeze up to 1 week.
        4. To serve, uncover pie and let stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften slightly for easier slicing. Meanwhile, in small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Top each serving of pie with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with lime-peel slivers.
        Each serving: About 300 calories, 5 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 12 g total fat (6 g saturated), 1 g fiber, 33 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium.

        Rocky Road Ice Cream Cake

        This ooey-gooey treat is like a big sundae in a springform pan. It's made with chocolate ice cream, our secret homemade Fudge Sauce (also delicious served hot over a bowl of plain ice cream), cookies, peanuts, and baby marshmallows. If you don't have time to make the sauce, a jar from the store will do just fine.


        Prep time: 30 minutes plus chilling and freezing
        Cook time: about 8 minutes
        Makes: 14 servings

        Ingredients:

        -Fudge Sauce:
        • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
        • 3/4 cup sugar
        • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
        • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
        • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
        • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
        -Rocky Road Cake:
        • 2 pints chocolate ice cream, softened
        • 14 chocolate sandwich cookies
        • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
        • 1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
        How to make:
        1. Prepare Fudge Sauce: In heavy 2 -quart saucepan, heat cream, sugar, chocolate, and corn syrup over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring occasionally. Cook 4 minutes longer or until sauce thickens slightly (mixture should be gently bubbling), stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in butter and vanilla until sauce is smooth and glossy. Cover surface of sauce with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or until cool. Makes about 1 2/3 cups.
        2. When sauce is cool, assemble Rocky Road Cake: Wrap bottom and side of 9" by 3" springform pan with foil. Spoon 1 pint chocolate ice cream into pan. Place plastic wrap on ice cream and press down to speard evenly and eliminate air pockets; remove plastic wrap. Insert cookies, standing upright, into ice cream to form a ring around side of pan, making sure to push cookie to pan bottom. Sprinkle 1 cup marshmallows and 1/2 cup peanuts over ice cream; press in gently with hand.
        3. Spoon remaining ice cream over marshmallows and peanuts. Place plastic wrap on ice cream and spread evenly; remove plastic wrap. Spread 2/3 cup Fudge Sauce over ice cream (if sauce is too firm, microwave briefly to soften but not heat); reserve remaining sauce to serve later. Sprinkle remaining marshmallows and peanuts over sauce; press in gently with hand. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
        4. To serve, uncover and remove foil from pan. Wrap towels dampened with warm water around side of pan for about 20 seconds to slightly soften ice cream, Remove side of pan and place cake on cake stand or plate. Let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes for easier slicing. Meanwhile, place remaining Fudge Sauce in microwave-safe bowl. Heat sauce in microwave oven, uncovered, on High 30 to 40 seconds or until hot, stirring once. Serve hot sauce to spoon over cake if you like.
        Each serving: About 365 calories, 7 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 23 g total fat (11 g saturated), 2 g fiber, 77 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium.
        Each tablespoon sauce: About 85 calories, 1 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 7 g total fat (4 g saturated), 0 g fiber, 15 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium.

        Raspberry-Peach Dome

        It looks really impressive, but all you need is store-bought pound cake, ice cream, jam, and gelato to make this dome cake, which is layered in a deep bowl, frozen overnight, and unmolded.

        Prep time: 30 minutes plus freezing
        Makes: 16 servings

        What you need:
        Cake Dome:
        • 1 frozen pound cake loaf (10 3/4 to 12 ounces), thawed
        • 2 tablespoons seedless red raspberry jam

        Dome Filling:
        • 2 pints raspberry gelato, softened
        • 1 quart peach ice cream, softened
        Fresh Raspberry for garnish.

        How to make:
        1. Prepare Cake Dome: With serrated knife, cut top crust from pound cake. Place cake on 1 long side; cut lengthwise into 3 equal slices. With small spatula, spread 1 tablespoon jam on cut side of 1 cake slice. Top with another cake slice and spread with remaining 1 tablespoon jam. Top with remaining cake slice. With knife, trim off remaining crusts along sides of cake. Slice jam-layered cake crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick slices.
        2. Line deep 2 1/2-quart bowl with plastic wrap, leaving about a 2-inch overhang. Arrange cake rectangles along the bottom and up the side of bowl (slices will extend slightly above rim of bowl) to make a decorative design. If necessary, cut some rectangles into triangles to fill in any open areas, gently pushing cake pieces together to get a tight fit. With knife or kitchen shears, trim off overhanging ends of cake to create an even rim around bowl. (if you like, save trimmings to use as ice cream topping another day.) Place in freezer to firm cake dome slightly, about 20 minutes.
        3. Prepare Dome filling: With back of spoon, working quickly, gently spread gelato over cake layer to an even thickness. Place bowl in freezer 20 minutes to firm gelato slightly.
        4. Spoon peach ice cream into center of bowl; spread evenly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and freeze overnight to ensure dome is frozen throughout. If not serving same day, wrap and freeze up to 2 weeks.
        5. To serve, uncover bowl and invert onto platter. Wrap towel dampened with warm water around entire bowl for about 20 seconds to slightly soften dome. Remove bowl and plastic wrap. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes to soften for easier slicing. Garnish dome with raspberries.
        Each serving: About 265 calories, 4 g protein, 39 g carbohydrate, 11 g total fat (6 g saturated), 0 g fiber, 75 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium.

        Tropical Sorbet Loaf

        A slice of this look like a summer sunset or pretty sand art made on a seaside boardwalk. The best part is, it's really easy; just scoop and freeze. Your kids can help.



        Prep time: 20 minutes plus freezing
        Makes: 16 servings

        Ingredients:
        • 1 pint raspberry or strawberry sorbet, softened
        • 1 pint mango or passion fruit sorbet, softened
        • 1 pint coconut sorbet, softened 
        • Shaved coconut, fresh raspberries, and fresh mint leaves for garnish
        How to make:
        1. Spray 9" by 5" loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap.
        2. Using 2-inch (1/4 cup) ice cream scoop, arrange 8 alternating scoops of sorbet (2 scoops of each sorbet) in layer in pan. Place plastic wrap on sorbet scoops and press mixture down to flatten and eliminate air pockets; remove plastic wrap. Repeat to make 2 more layers, alternating sorbets within each layer and from layer to layer, and making sure to press mixture down each time. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
        3. To serve, uncover pan and invert onto platter. Wrap towels dampened with warm water on bottom and sides of pan for about 20 seconds to slightly soften sorbet. Remove pan and plastic wrap. Garnish loaf with coconut, raspberries, and mint.
        Each serving: About 125 calories, 0 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 1 g total fat (1 g saturated), 1 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium.

        Friday, September 17, 2010

        Creamy Parmesan Twice-Baked Potatoes

        We microwaved the potatoes and used a Parmesan-peppercorn salad dressing in this easy version of twice-baked potatoes. Reheat the stuffed potatoes in the oven for a crispy top, but if you're short on time, just pop them in the microwave.


        Prep time: 20 minutes
        Cook time: About 25 minutes
        Makes: 4 main-dish servings
        Ingredients:
        • 4 medium baking potatoes (about 10 ounces each)
        • 1/2 cup bottled creamy Parmesan with cracked peppercorn salad dressing
        • 1 green onion, sliced
        • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
        • Green-onion tops (optional)
        How to make:
        1. Pierce potatoes with fork in several places. Place potatoes on paper towel in microwave oven. Cook potatoes on High 10 to 12 minutes or until fork-tender, turning potatoes over once halfway through cooking; cool slightly.
        2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In medium bowl, mix salad dressing and sliced onion; set aside.
        3. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice each potato lengthwise in half. With spoon, carefully scoop out flesh from each potato half, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shell and making sure potato-skin shells are intact. Place flesh in bowl with dressing mixture. Place shells on small cookie sheet.
        4. With potato masher or fork, mash potato mixture in bowl until almost smooth. Spoon mashed-potato mixture into shells; sprinkle with parmesan.
        5. Bake potatoes 12 to 15 minutes or until heated through and golden on top. Arrange potatoes on bed of green-onion tops if you like.
        Each serving: About 420 calories, 8 g protein, 61 g carbohydrate, 18 g total fat (4 g saturated), 5 g fiber, 4 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium. 

        Kitchen tip: You can also make Horradish & Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes with this recipe above. Prepare recipe as above, except in Step 2, substitute 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar cheese for the Parmesan.
        Each serving: About 370 calories, 10 g protein, 62 g carbohydrate, 10 g total fat (6 g saturated), 6 g fiber, 30 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium. 

        Hoisin Short Ribs

        Serve the gravy from these scrumptious ribs over white rice or egg noodles.



        Prep time: 25 minutes
        Cook time: 1 hour and 50 minutes
        Yield: 6 servings
        Ingredients:
        • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
        • 4 lbs. beef short ribs, cut into 3" pieces and trimmed of excess fat
        • 1 large onion, chopped
        • 4 garlics cloves, chopped
        • 2 tablespoon grated ginger
        • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) beef broth
        • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
        • 2 tablespoon honey
        • 3 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
        • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
        • 1 package (8 oz.) carrot sticks (or 4 large carrots, cut into sticks)
        • Sliced green onion (optional)
        How to make:
        1. In large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add ribs in batches, and brown. Transfer browned ribs to large bowl. Remove and discard all but 1 tablespoon cooking liquid. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, and cook 1 minute. Transfer ribs back to Dutch oven.
        2. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Add broth, hoisin sauce, honey, vinegar, and red pepper to Dutch oven. Heat to boiling. Cover, then transfer to oven. Bake until tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
        3. Transfer ribs to a roasting pan, and keep warm in oven set at low. Skim fat off cooking liquid, and transfer back to Dutch oven. Heat to boiling and cook 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook until mixture thickens, about 6 minutes longer.
        Nutrition per serving: 420 cal.; 31 g pro.; 19 g fat; 27 g carb.; 33 mg calcium; 2 g fiber.

        Kitchen tip: In Step 3, transfer cooking liquid to a large glass measuring cup and place in freezer for 20 minutes. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top, making it easier to skim off.

        Saffron Seafood Chowder

        Serve our simple, elegant chowder with slices of toasted French bread.



        Prep time: 10 minutes
        Cook time: 25 minutes
        Yield: 6 servings

        Ingredients:
        • 2 teaspoon olive oil
        • 1 medium onion, diced
        • 2 garlic cloves, minced
        • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
        • 3/4 lb. small red potatoes, quartered
        • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
        • 1 lb. skinless salmon fillet, cut in 1 1/2" pieces
        • 1/2 lb. sea scallops, halved
        • 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and cleaned
        • 2 large plum tomatoes, diced
        • 1 cup frozen peas
        • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
        • 1/4 cup half-andhalf
        How to make:
        1. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth, potatoes, and saffron, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
        2. Stir in salmon, scallops, shrimp, tomatoes, peas, and orange peel, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in half-and-half and serve.
        Nutrition per serving: 293 cal.; 32 g pro.; 12 g fat; 12 g carb.; 62 mg calcium; 3 g fiber.

        Kitchen tip: Add a little variety by substituting cod, grouper, or monkfish.

        Thursday, September 16, 2010

        Veggie-and-Chickpea Stew

        This protein-rich vegetarian dinner goes perfectly with a crisp green salad.



        Prep time: 10 minutes
        Cook time: 30 minutes
        Yield: 6 servings

        Ingredients:
        • 1 tablespoon olive oil
        • 1 medium onion, diced
        • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
        • 1 celery stalk, diced
        • 2 garlic cloves, minced
        • 1/2 heaping teaspoon crushed rosemary
        • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
        • 1 bay leaf
        • 1 cup water
        • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
        • 2 cans (15 oz. each) chickpeas
        • 1 package (12 oz.) fresh broccoli-cauliflower mix
        How to make:
        1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add carrot, celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf, and cook 5 minutes more.
        2. Stir in water, tomato paste, and chickpeas with liquid, and cook 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Remove 1 cup of mixture from pot and puree in blender; stir back into stew.
        3. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in broccoli and cauliflower. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 7 minutes.
        Nutrition per serving: 233 cal.; 9 g pro.; 4 g fat; 42 g carb.; 90 mg calcium; 6 g fiber.

        Kitchen tip: To prepare stew ahead of time, follow recipe through Step 2, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Then increase cooking time in Step 3 by 10 to 15 minutes.

          Mediterranean Lamb Saute

          This Greek- Inspired meal goes from stovetop to table in less than 30 minutes.

          Prep time: 5 minutes
          Cook time: 20 minutes
          Yield: 4 servings

          Ingredients:
          • 4 lamb steaks, trimmed and sliced into 1/2" slices (about 1 to 1/4 lbs. trimmed meat)
          • 1/2 teaspoon salt
          • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
          • 4 teaspoon olive oil, divided
          • 1 small red onion, cored and sliced
          • 2 garlic cloves, minced
          • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning (McCormick's)
          • 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
          • 1 red pepper, sliced
          • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
          • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
          How to make:
          1. In medium bowl, mix together lamb slices, salt, and pepper, and set aside.
          2. In large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and Greek seasoning, and cook 30 seconds more. Increase heat to high, and add zucchini and red pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in broth and cook until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl, and wipe skillet clean.
          3. Heat remaining 2 teaspoon oil in skillet over high heat. Add lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is browned on all sides and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Return vegetable mixture to skillet and heat through. Transfer to serving bowl and springkle with feta cheese.
          Nutrition per serving: 267 cal.; 26 g pro.; 15 g fat; 8 g carb.; 85 mg calcium; 1 g fiber.

          Kitchen tip: To save time, substitute a package of ready-to-serve stir-fry or frozen assorted veggies for zucchini and red pepper.

            Snowy-Day Chilly

            Kids love our southwestern-style chili after a day of winter fun. Serve with corn bread fresh from the oven.


            Prep time: 10 minutes
            Cook time: 25 minutes
            Yield: 6 servings
            Ingredients:
            • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
            • 1 small onion, chopped
            • 1 small green pepper, chopped
            • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
            • 1 teaspoon chili powder
            • 1 can (14.5 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth
            • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes seasoned with jalapeno peppers
            • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
            • 1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
            • 1 pork tenderloin (1 lb.), thinly sliced
            • 2 teaspoon paprika
            • 1/4 teaspoon salt
            • 1 can (7 oz.) corn kernels, drained
            • Cilantro, chopped (optional)
            How to make:
            1. In large saucepan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper, and cook until vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. Add cumin and chili powder. Cook 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, black beans, and kidney beans. Heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.
            2. In medium bowl, combine pork, paprika, and salt. Stir pork and corn into saucepan with bean mixture. Cook 10 minutes, or until pork is cooked through. Divide mixture among bowls, and garnish with Cilantro, if desired.
            Nutrition per serving: 281 cal.; 26 g pro.; 8 g fat; 28 g carb.; 73 mg calcium; 9 g fiber.

            Kitchen tip: You can easily double this recipe for larger crowds. For convenience, use a 28 oz. can of each bean and a 15 oz. can of corn (or a 10 oz. package of frozen corn), and double the remaining ingredients. Happy trying :)

              Wednesday, September 15, 2010

              Vanilla Cordial

              This sweet after-dinner liqueur, fragrant with the exotic scent of vanilla, is the perfect way to end a meal.

              Prep 10 minutes plus 1 week to steep. Cook about 5 minutes. Makes about 7 cups or 36 servings.
              Ingredients:
              • 1 vanilla bean
              • 1 3/4 cup sugar
              • 1 bottle (750 milliliters) 100-proof vodka (3 1/4 cups)
              How to make:
              1. With knife, cut vanilla bean crosswise in half, then split each half lengthwise in half to expose seeds. Scrape out seeds with knife, reserve pod and seeds.
              2. In 2 -quart saucepan, mix sugar, vanilla-bean pod, seeds, and 3 cups water; heat to boiling over high heat, stirring. Boil 2 minites, cool.
              3. In medium bowl, stir cooled syrup and vodka. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 week to blend flavors.
              4. After 1 week, pour cordial into small decorative bottles with tight-fitting stoppers or lids. (You can leave the pieces of vanilla bean pod in the cordial if you like, or remove and discard them. Or, rinse and dry the pod pieces and use them to flavor a canister of sugar). Store in refrigerator or freezer up to 3 months. Serve cordial very cold.
              Note: Each serving: About 95 calories, 0 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 0 g total fat, 0 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium.

              Amaretto Truffles

              This recipes is so easy to prepare, you'll be able to make many batches to give to all your friends and family for the holiday. Place each truffle in a fluted foil or paper cup.
              Prep 25 minutes plus chilling. Makes 64 truffles.
              Ingredients:
              • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate
              • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
              • 3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
              • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut up (no substitutions)
              • 1/4 cup almond-flavor liqueur
              • 1/3 cup blanched almonds, toasted and finely chopped
              • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
              How to make:
              1. In food processor, with knife blade attached, blend both kinds of chocolate until very finely ground.
              2. In 1 -quart saucepan, heat cream to boiling over medium-high heat. With food processor running, add hot cream, butter, and liqueur to chocolate, and blend until smooth.
              3. Grease 8" by 8" metal baking pan; line with plastic wrap. Pour chocolate mixture into pan; spread evenly. Refrigerate chocolate mixture until cool and firm enough to handle, at least 3 hours, or freeze 1 hour.
              4. Place chopped almonds in small bowl; Invert chocolate block onto cutting board; discard plastic wrap. Cut chocolate block into 8 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 squares. (To cut chocolate block neatly and easily, occasionally dip knife in hot water and wipe dry).
              5. One at a time, roll half the squares in chopped almonds to coat; roll remaining squares in cocoa. Store in refrigerator in tightly covered container, with waxed paper between layers, up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 2 months.
              Note: Each truffle: About 55 calories, 1 g protein, 4 g carbohydrate, 4 g total fat (2 g saturated), 1 g fiber, 6 mg cholesterol, 1 mg sodium.

              Chocolate-Dipped Dried Fruit

              This recipes can be easily doubled and made for a crowd. We found the most efficient way of coating was to dip larger pieces of fruit into chocolate before smaller ones.

              Prep 10 minutes plus cooling. Cook 5 minutes. Makes about 1 1/4 pounds or 33 pieces dipped fruit.
              Ingredients:
              • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
              • 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
              • 1 pound dried fruit, such as apricots, apples, pears, and pineapple. (In picture: 4 pineapple rings, 5 pear halves, 7 apple slices, 8 appricot halves, and 9 large slices of crystallized ginger.
              • 3 ounces crystallized ginger (optional)
              How to make:
              1. Place sheet of waxed paper under large wire rack. In top of double boiler or in small stainless-steel bowl set over 2 quart saucepan, over 1 inch simmering water (double-boiler top or bowl should be 2 inches above water), heat chocolate and shortening until melted, stirring.
              2. With fingers, dip 1 piece of fruit at a time. Shake off excess chocolate or gently scrape fruit across rim of double boiler, being careful not to remove too much chocolate. Place dipped fruit on wire rack until chocolate is set, at least 1 hour.
              3. When set, store dipped fruit at room temperature in tightly covered container, with paper between layers, up to 1 week.
              Note: Each piece: About 55 calories, 1 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 1 g total fat (1 g saturated), 1 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 mg sodium.

              Nutty Caramel Popcorn

              A better-than-store-bought snack to nibble on. We added roasted peanuts and toasted coconut for extra crunch.

              Prep 15 minutes plus cooling. Cook about 15 minutes. Makes about 20 cups.
              Ingredients:
              • 16 cups popped corn or two 3 1/2-ounce bags natural-flavor microwave popcorn, popped
              • 1 jar (8 ounces) salted dry-roasted peanuts (about 1 3/4 cups)
              • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
              • 1 1/2 cups sugar
              • 1 cup dark corn syrup
              • 1/2 cup margarine or butter (1 stick)
              • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

              How to make:
              1. Grease two 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 jelly-roll pans (or 1 jelly-roll pan and 1 large roasting pan) and 2 large heat-safe rubber spatulas; set aside. Place popped corn in very large bowl; top with peanuts and coconut (do not stir).
              2. In heavy 2-quart saucepan, heat sugar, corn syrup, and margarine to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium; set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking, without stirring, until temperature reaches 290 degree F., or soft-crack stage (when small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into threads that are hard but not brittle), about 15 minutes.
              3. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in vanilla. Working quickly, pour half of hot mixture over popcorn mixture; with spatulas, stir to mix, making sure to incorporate peanuts and coconuts. Pour remaining hot mixture over popcorn mixture; stir until evenly coated.
              4. Divided caramel corn between prepared pans. Sprinkle any peanuts and coconut remaining in bottom of bowl over caramel corn; with spatula, press onto caramel corn. Cool in pans on wire racks. When cool, break into small clusters. Store at room temperature in tightly covered container up to 1 month.
              Note: Each cup: About 130 calories, 2 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 6 g total fat (2 g saturated), 2 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium.

              Festive Fondant Mints

              Old fashion creamy mints in easy-to-cut-out shapes-great for all ages.
              Prep 30 minutes plus drying and makes about 12 dozen mints.
              Ingredients:
              • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
              • 2 teaspoons natural mint extract, about 4 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar plus additional for dusting and cutting green, red, and yellow food coloring.
                How to make:
                1. Line two 15 and 1/2 by 10 and 1/2 jelly-roll pans with waxed paper.
                2. In large bowl, with spoon, mix milk and mint extract. Stir in 4 cups sugar. Sprinkle work surface with some sugar; place mixture on surface and gradually knead in enough of remaining sugar to form a smooth ball that doesn't stick to hands or surface.
                3. Divided fondant mixture into quarters. Tint 3 of the quarters with food coloring as desired. Individually wrap each of the tinted quarters with plastic wrap, and set aside.
                4. With rolling pin, roll untinted fondant to 1/4-inch thickness. With 1 1/2-inch assorted Christmas cookie cutters dipped in confectioners' sugar, cut out as many mints as possible; reserve trimmings. Transfer mints to prepared pans. Reroll trimmings and cut out more mints. Repeat with remaining fondant.
                5. Let mint dry at least 2 hours. Store at room temperature in tightly covered container, with waxed paper between layers, up to 1 month.
                Note: Each mint: About 25 calories, 0 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, 0 g total fat, 0 g fiber, 1 mg cholesterol, 5 mg sodium.

                Hot Diggity Dog



                What you need:
                • Knife or clean scissors.
                • 4 hot dogs (or polish sausages or brats)
                • Hoagie bun
                • 2 donut holes
                • Sliced cheese
                • Carrot
                • Onion
                • Olives
                • Strawberry licorice lace
                • Maraschino cherry
                • Red fruit-flavored gumdrop circle
                1. For the paws, make two cuts--1/2 inch long--into one end of each hot dog. Cook hot dogs.
                2. Assemble the dog, using the bun for the body, hot dogs for the legs, a carrot stick for the tail, sliced cheese for the ears, and two donut holes for the muzzle.
                3. Add onion pieces and olive halves for eyes, attaching them to the bun with thin carrot sticks or toothpicks.
                4. Push pieces of strawberry licorice lace into muzzle for whiskers. Top the muzzle with a cherry nose. 
                5. Cut the gumdrop circle in a teardrop shape for the tongue. 

                One Sweet Pup

                Your kids will howl with delight when you serve this fiber-filled fruit snack.


                How to make: On a plate, place 2 canned-pear halves, cut side down, with the wider ends touching. Halve 2 end grapes. Place one grape half in front of the short end of one pear for a nose. Arrange 2 other halves in the back to make legs. Cut a long strip off dried apricot, and attach it between the dog's legs to create a tail. Halve another apricot, and use the halves for ears. Place 2 raisins on the face for eyes.

                Carrot Fries

                Does your kid love french fries?
                Try to made the fries from carrots, bursting with healthy beta-carotene and vitamin A, and they're oven baked, not fried, so there's less fat.


                To make your own: Cut 4 peeled medium carrots into 3"-long sticks. Toss them with 2 teaspoon vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined baking pan, and roast in a 400 degrees F oven for 20 minutes. Makes two servings.