Showing posts from November, 2010

Four Can (or is it five?) Hotdish

Growing up in Minnesota we ate 'hotdish' often. When there were church functions, everyone brought a hotdish. The wonderful and quite odd thing about 'hotdish' is that it could really be anything. Myself, I try to differentiate between hotdish and casseroles by how they are cooked. Hotdishes are made on the stove top, casseroles are baked in the oven.
Now, this might not always hold true but a hotdish consists of some form of pasta with ground beef. From that point on everything changes. This recipe is one that my mom makes and was sweet enough to send along some pictures and the recipe. Mikey is not a fan of 'hotdish' so I don't make it here even though I really really want to.
1 pound ground beef
1 1/2 pound Macaroni uncooked
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup (This is the fifth can and can be omitted if you're like me and don't like mushrooms.)
1 can vegetable beef with beef stock soup

Chocolate Mint Bars

I love trying out new recipes. Sometimes it works for me sometimes it doesn’t. This is one that is a hit! I was worried that the mint would be to strong but it was mild and not at all overpowering. The bottom is a chewy brownie (that I’m going to play with some more in other recipes) and the top is a not quite hard dark chocolate. I suppose if you don’t care much for dark chocolate you could substitute milk chocolate.
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) plus 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 drops green food color
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Print Recipe
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13×9×2-inch baking pan.
Place 1 cup (2 sticks) butter in large microwave-safe bowl; cover. Microwave 1 minute or until melted.

Stir in granulated sugar and vanilla.

Add eggs; beat well.

Add flour, cocoa…

Chocolate Silk Pie

I discovered this recipe several Thanksgivings ago. I don’t make it often but revived it for this years Thanksgiving dinner. It was just as delicious and chocolatey as I remember.  The hardest thing about making this pie is waiting for it to chill.

1  chocolate pie crust
1 1/4  cups  heavy cream
8  ounces  bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2  cups  miniature marshmallows
3  tablespoons  sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
Print Recipe

Chop the bittersweet chocolate.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir 1/4 cup cream, chocolate and marshmallows until smooth, 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
Whip 1 cup cream until soft peaks form.
Add cocoa; beat until stiff peaks form.

Stir a third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture; gently fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream.

Spoon mixture into pie shell.

Chill until set, about 2 hours.

Garnish with whipped cream and if you want to be really creative shave some bittersweet chocolate on the pie before it sets.

Hot Cocoa With a Kick

I love hot cocoa all year long. I am positive it has to do with the chocolate content. With winter coming I thought it would be nice to have a cup of hot cocoa that keeps warming me up even after I drink it.
Let me say I do NOT like spicy hot food! I run from it, I don't like the burn or the heat involved. Then there is the cayenne pepper. In just small amounts it adds such wonderful flavor and just a bit of heat. Sometimes I have gotten carried away and added just a bit too much but it has never been too awful.
Let me also add that cayenne pepper is super healthy. I could list the benefits but there are too many. So I'm thinking cayenne and chocolate together has to be a 'good for you' food. I've heard of places that do this but I've never tried it myself. So here goes...

1/4 cup sugar
dash salt
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of cayenne pepper-ok, a pinch may be too much, try using a smidgen …

Four Cheese Manicotti

I believe I would starve to death if I was forced to eat a 'fancy' food. You know the kind? A tiny piece of meat on a plate decorated with some partially cooked vegetable with some unknown sauce drizzled over the top to make it look pretty.

I don't have to have my plate heaping with food like a starving lumberjack, far from it. But whatever is on my plate I would like to be both tasty and filling so I'm not fantasizing about raiding the fridge 20 minutes after dinner.

Manicotti is not only easy and substantial, it's pretty! When it is all done and the sauce is poured on top and it's sitting on our plates I feel like a culinary genius! Then when I tasted it I decided I like it better than lasagna and I LOVE lasagna. Please try this recipe!

If you're cooking for only 2-3 people this is also a very economical meal. The recipe tonight is for 3 people. 2 manicotti each for the girls and 3 for the guy.


1/2 box Manicotti (7 pieces co…

Pumpkin Bars

I found hundreds of recipes with so many variations for pumpkin bars. None of them seemed to be what I was looking for. I wanted a heavy moist bar that was not at all cake like. The recipes I looked at all had egg in them which will make them more cake like.

Years ago my mother made some carrot bars from a recipe given to her from a church lady in 1976. They were wonderful. Moist and heavy. I decided to modify that recipe into what I wanted for my pumpkin bars. I also didn't want a heavy thick frosting for the bars so I made half as much cream cheese frosting.

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Whisk together oil, vanilla and pumpkin.

Whisk in sugar.

Mix in salt, spice and baking soda.

Add flour all at once. Mix well.

Blend in pecans.

Spread mixture into greased 9x13 pan.

Bake for…