Monday, December 22, 2008

Layered Sun-dried tomato and basil spread

Prep: 8 hrs. Make this recipe up to 3 days before the party.
Makes 20 servings
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/3 cups sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened and divided
1/3 cup tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Vegetable cooking spray
Garnishes: fresh rosemary sprigs, sun-dried tomatoes
Crackers or baguette slices
Beat 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Set aside.
Process dried tomatoes in a food processor until chopped. Add 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, tomato paste, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Spoon into a bowl, and set aside. Wipe container of food processor clean.
Process garlic and next 4 ingredients in food processor until chopped. Add Parmesan cheese, remaining 3-ounce package cream cheese, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; pulse just until blended, stopping to scrape down sides.
Spray a 6-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup butter mixture evenly on bottom of springform pan. Layer with half of tomato mixture, 1/2 cup butter mixture, and half of basil mixture; top with 1/2 cup butter mixture. Repeat layers with remaining tomato mixture, 1/2 cup butter mixture, and remaining basil mixture. Top with remaining butter mixture. Cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 8 hours.
Run a knife gently around edge of pan to loosen sides. Remove sides of pan; carefully remove bottom of pan, and place layered spread on a serving tray. Garnish, if desired. Serve with crackers or baguette slices.

Southern Living, Nov. 2005

Goat Cheese Wrapped in Phyllo

Yield:6 servings

1 tablespoon light butter
4 small white onions, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 frozen phyllo sheets, thawed
Butter-flavored vegetable cooking spray
1 (3-ounce) goat cheese log, crumbled
Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add onion and sugar, and cook, stirring often, 30 minutes or until caramel colored. Add vinegar and honey, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened. Stir in thyme.
Stack phyllo, coating each layer with cooking spray. Cut into 6 (5-inch) squares. Spoon onion mixture evenly onto center of phyllo squares. Top evenly with goat cheese. Lift corners, and twist together. Place packets on a lightly greased baking sheet; coat each with cooking spray.
Bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until golden; garnish, if desired.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jon's Chicken Parmesan

I made this for the first time last night, and it was so easy and good.  Great for serving 8 or having leftovers, or in Jon's case serving 4 . . . . 

1.  Boil water for cooking pasta (I prefer thin spaghetti)
2.  Preheat oven to 350 for baking garlic bread
3.  Prepare tomato sauce (I use Muir Glen Organic in a jar - 2)

To prepare chicken:
1. Take 4 chicken breasts and slice in half then pound flat
2. Coat each piece with egg (I use 2 eggs in a pie plate with a little whipping cream)
3. Coat each piece with bread crumb mixture (in a large ziploc I mix Italian bread crumbs, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, S&P)
4. Place in refrigerator for a few minutes to set

Heat small amount of oil in a skillet and cook chicken; they are so thin it will only take 3-4 minutes per side.  While chicken is cooking, cook pasta, bread and heat sauce.

To serve, I place pasta on plate, cover with sauce, put chicken on top of that with a little more sauce and then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Peppermint Bark

Cook Time: 25 minutes
8 ounces (about 1-1/3 cup) dark chocolate, chopped
8 ounces (about 1-1/3 cup) white chocolate, chopped
6 peppermint candy canes
1. Unwrap the candy canes and place them in a food processor. Pulse on/off several times, until the canes have been chopped into small pieces. Alternately, place the candy canes in a large Ziploc bag and seal tightly. Use a rolling pin to roll/smash the candy canes until they are the size you desire.
2. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with smooth aluminum foil.
3. Melt the dark chocolate. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared cookie sheet use an offset spatula to spread it to a unform 1/8” thickness. The chocolate does not have to reach all sides of the sheet, as it will be broken up later anyhow. Place the tray in the refrigerator to firm up for 15 minutes.
4. While the dark chocolate hardens, melt the white chocolate.
5. Remove the tray from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate in an even layer over the dark chocolate.
6. While the white chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the chopped candy cane pieces over the entire surface evenly. Press down very slightly to ensure they stick. Place the tray back in the refrigerator to firm up for 30 minutes.
7. Once bark is completely set, break into small, uneven pieces by hand.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ambrosia Macaroons

Coconut lovers - these are delicious!  Recipe makes about 45 cookies.

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. finely grated orange peel
3 eggs
24 oz sweetened coconut flakes
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325.   Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Using mixer, beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar and salt.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix in coconut and stir together.  Add orange peel and stir together.  Drop onto baking sheets by spoonfuls.  Bake 1 sheet at a time for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.  (my oven cooks fast so I baked for about 15 mins).  Cool.  Using fork, drizzle chocolate over macaroons.  Chill 30 minutes.