Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Ribbon Jello Salad

This jello salad appeared on our Christmas dinner table every year growing up- and for good reason. Its delicious, festive, and easy to put together. I've probably made it for the last 9 Christmases in my own home since I've been married. Its definitely a great tradition.
courtesy google images
Christmas Ribbon Jello Salad
Becky Jewkes

1 3-oz. pkg. Lemon Jello
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1 3-oz. pkg. Lime Jello
1 3-oz. pkg. red Jello (I use raspberry)
1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup fresh whipped cream + some for topping

Bottom Layer: Dissolve lime jello according to package directions. Pour into a 9X13 dish and set until firm.
Middle Layer: Dissolve lemon jello according to package directions. Let set until partially firm. Mix whipped cream, cream cheese, and pineapple and fold into the lemon jello. Carefully pour over first layer and set until firm.
Top layer: Dissolve red jello according to package directions. Carefully pour on top of the middle layer. Set until firm.
Top jello salad with thin layer of fresh whipped cream.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sweet Fruit Muffin

Photo from Tasty Sensations blog

Super yummy!  I made these with a mixed frozen fruit from Costco...super good and nutritious feeling!

Sweet Fruit Muffins

Recipe from tastysensations.blogspot.com

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
2 c. fresh blueberries - rinsed, drained and patted dry
1 c. chopped strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray the top of a muffin pan with non-stick coating, and line with paper liners.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix together 1 3/4 cup of the flour and baking powder. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk and almond extract, mixing just until incorporated. Crush 1/4 of the blueberries and stawberries, and stir into the batter. Mix the rest of the whole blueberries and chopped strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of the flour, and fold into the batter. Scoop into muffin cups. Sprinkle tops lightly with sugar. Makes a dozen very large muffins, or 24 mini muffins + 6 large muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown, and tops spring back when lightly tapped (about 18-20 minutes for mini muffins)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nantucket Cranberry and Blackberry Pie

                                       
                                                            picture courtesy of pioneerwomancooks.com


I wonder what the precentage of recipes on here are desserts? What does that say about us Jewkes women? We LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVEEEEEE sweets. However, ladies...the sweets are not lovin me back. So....come New Years lets get some low-cal, low fat stuff on here, alrighty? :) Anyway...this recipe is adapted from Pioneer Woman. Nuff said. Her's was just a cranberry pie but my sister-in-law Jen -who turned me on to the recipe- added blackberries and I LURV it. Its called a pie but its a lot like a cobbler. Its perfect for the holidays because it acutally uses cranberries which I never know what to do with but always feel like I should. Y'know?


NANTUCKET CRANBERRY AND BLACKBERRY PIE

■Butter, For Greasing
■1 bag of cranberries and one large container of blackberries
■1.5 cups Pecans, Chopped (measure, Then Chop)
■1 1/3 cups Sugar
■2 cup Flour
■2 cup Sugar
■2 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
■4 whole Eggs, Lightly Beaten
■2 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
■1/2 teaspoon Salt
■Florida Crystals Demarara Sugar For Sprinkling (brand is important here: use florida crystals brand!)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously butter two cake pans or pie pans. Wash berries and add cranberries and blackberries to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on chopped pecans, then sprinkle on 2/3 cup sugar on each pie.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently to combine.

Pour batter slowly over the top in large "ribbons" in order to evenly cover the surface. Spread gently if necessary.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. 10 minutes before removing from oven, sprinkle surface with demarara sugar for a little extra crunch.

Cut into wedges and serve with ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

Monday, December 12, 2011

no-boil macaroni and cheese

Photo from plainchicken.com

I loved this recipe because I could cook it without boiling the noodles.  Super easy!

No-Boil Macaroni and Cheese
  

Recipe from plainchicken.com
serves 8

1 (16 oz) pkg elbow macaroni
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups shredded cheese - I used a cheddar jack blend
8 oz softened cream cheese, cubed (I used light)
2 tsp onion salt
1 tsp dry mustard
fresh ground pepper
1/2 c flour

In a large bowl, stir together the macaroni, milk and chicken broth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together using a large wooden spoon. Pour into a very large, deep casserole dish. *Make sure all the pasta is covered.  It won't cook if it isn't in the liquid mixture.  I just pressed the noodles down in the pan until they were all covered.*  

Bake uncovered in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until pasta is fully cooked. Turn oven broiler on for the last two minutes of cooking time to brown up the top part of the mac and cheese. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cinnamon and White Chocolate Caramel Apple

You guys...seriously. I just need to emphasize that this is one of the BEST desserts I have EVER had. Its amazing. I don't like green apples, don't love white chocolate and don't love cinnamon. Let me just say that the marriage of these flavors is intoxicating. Am I making myself clear? You may think you don't want these apples- YOU DO! I also wanna add that I did not take a pic of my apples b/c whenever I take pics of my food it never looks that good. So...I found this one which is....decent. Mine are prettier because I use demarara sugar (see pic above) and its very coarse and gorgeous!
             I keep on saying mine. I need to give credit where credit is due. I got this recipe from my amazing and talented cousin- Katie. And I have probably eaten 12 of these apples in the past couple weeks. I LOVE finding excuses to make them so I can eat them. I shouldn't admit that. Before I go any further though there is one thing that is absolutely imperative with making these: YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW ALL OF THESE TIPS/INSTRUCTIONS for them to turn out. Trust me. Me being impatient, I tried to cut out a few and they were ugly and the caramel was crispy not soft, etc. etc. If you have had problems with caramel apples before (as I have) if you follow these tips you won't! They will be gorgeous. And you MUST MUST MUST buy the coarse sugar. The texture and flavor MAKES these. Ok, do I sound crazy yet? Good. Because I am crazy over these apples. Moving on....

CINNAMON AND WHITE CHOCOLATE CARAMEL APPLES
INGREDIENTS
-One bag of Kraft caramels (Wal-mart sells the "chips" instead of the squares specifically for baking. They are awesome.
-5 medium granny smith green apples
-Popsicle sticks
-One package of white chocolate for candy making ("almond bark", "quick candy", whatever the store has)
-1 cup of demarara sugar (FLORIDA Crystals brand-- very important!...others brands taste different)
-1 t cinnamon
-1/4 t vegetable shortening

DIRECTIONS (listen up folks...do NOT stray from these directions!)
1. Wash and DRY your COLD refrigerated green apples. Insert sticks and make sure they are firmly in, tugging slightly. Make sure apples are fully dried before moving on to step 2.
2. Prepare your "space". Get out cookie sheet or some flat surfaced item (tray for example) that will fit in your freezer. That's right, your freezer. Spray surface with pam.
2. Melt caramels as directed on package. (I used microwave method and its great. Just be sure to NOT to overcook and stir every thirty seconds after the initial 1 minute. The stirring will often times melt remaining small chunks of caramel and you might not even need to put it back in.)
3. You need to work somewhat fast here. That's why we already prepared the tray/cookie sheet. Dip apples into caramel making swirling motion with your wrists. Lift up and let excess caramel drip for a few seconds and then take rubber spatula and scrape caramel off the bottom of the apple. Put on tray and immediately place in freezer. Do not wait until all the apples are dipped to place in freezer. I did this and that ruined it. Those first initial seconds are crucial to the caramel setting evenly around apple. Con't with the other apples  and carry each one to freezer and place on tray one at a time after dipping. Katie's little tip here was to have a sliced green apple spread out on a plate in slivers and she drizzled remaining caramel over those. Don't waste ya'll!
4. Prepare your cinnamon sugar in a bowl. Mix 1 c demarara sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon sugar. Leave the spoon accessible b/c you will use this to sprinkle sugar on top. Set a paper plate beside the bowl with sugar in it.
5. Melt the package of white chocolate in microwave. Add 1/4 t of veggie shortening for workability (its too thick without it. you can also use veggie oil but I prefer shortening). Cook in microwave at 30 second intervals. Chocolate gets hot spots in the microwave so this is super important. Stir white chocolate every 30 seconds. A lot of times stirring will melt the remaining small chunks of chocolate making it unnecessary to put back into the microwave.  Again, work fast here. Get the first apple you dipped off the tray (do NOT take tray out of freezer). Dip in DO NOT OVERCOOK. It just needs to be smooth.
           Go to the freezer and remove the first apple that you dipped with caramel. Dip in white chocolate let it excess drip for a few second and then scrape bottom with rubber spatula then hold apple over paper plate and using a spoon, sprinkle cinnamon sugar over apple generously. Do not dip in sugar. It doesn't work. This a very messy step and some white chocolate will drip off. That's why we are holding the apple over the plate and NOT the bowl with the sugar in it. Then run the apple back to the freezer and return it to the tray. Get the next apple and con't these steps until apples are covered in chocolate and cinnamon sugar.
6. Take remaining white chocolate and drizzle over the slivered apples then top with cinnamon sugar. Again, this is just to use all the ingredients and not to waste.
7. Let apples set-up in freezer for about ten minutes. Then transfer to fridge. These apples need to be stored in a fridge. If they are left out at room temp for a long period (we're talking hours here, not minutes) of time the caramel will slip off. But before you cut them, let them drop in temp a little. I usually let them sit out for about 10-20 minutes before I cut them. If you cut them too cold, the chocolate chips off in big pieces.

Now....Enjoy the most delicious apples you have ever eaten. And just so ya know, I had to make these three times before I got all the steps right and actually followed the directions and made the apples correctly. The tips work but don't be discouraged there is a HUGE learning curve to this process.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Trifle

Mom sent me this recipe- they made it for Thanksgiving dinner. It sounds delicious and looks amazing. You can't go wrong with pumpkin and cream cheese.
Pumpkin Cream Trifle

1st Layer:
1 pkg. spice cake
1 small pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. water
3 large eggs
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with electric mixer on low for one minute. Scrape down bowl and blend at medium for two minutes. Spray 9X13 pan and pour batter into it. Bake for 32-39 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool completely. When ready to assemble trifle, cut into 1-inch cubes.

Second Layer:
1 large pkg. instant cheesecake flavored instant pudding
2 cups cold milk
2 cups freshly whipped cream (unsweetened)
1 bag Heath Toffee bits (by chocolate chips in grocery store)

Combine pudding with milk and blend with whisk until it starts to thicken. Fold in whipped cream.

To assemble the trifle: Place 1/3 of cake into large bowl, followed by 1/3 cream mixture and then 1/3 toffee bits. Repeat two more times. Refrigerate.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Five Star Berry Cobbler

I am frequently in the mood for cobbler. Over the years I have tried many recipes. All have been a little disappointing. On a funny note I remember I made one about two years and my dad teased me that it should have been called "essence of blackberry cobbler" b/c it hardly had any fruit in it. :) This one is called five star for a reason folks. Its from allrecipes.com and its rated five stars- literally. YUM! Everyone loved it. Oh, and one other thing is that cobbler looks gorgeous and looks like you spent a lot of time making it but we all know that cobbler is a cinch! I made a few changes. I doubled the crust on top, added coarse sugar, used frozen blackberries instead of fresh and the original recipe throws in a cast iron skillet with some complicated steps. Go ahead if you have one.

Five Star Berry Cobbler from allrecipes.com adapted by Claire
• 2 cup all-purpose flour

• 2 cups white sugar, divided and coarse sugar to taste
• 2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 12 tablespoons cold butter
• 1/2 cup boiling water
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/4 cup cold water
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (any berries will work...or fruit for that matter. THAW a little if using frozen berries)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a large bowl mix the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/2 cup boiling water just until mixture is evenly moist.
3. In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in cold water. Mix in remaining 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, and blackberries. Transfer to frying pan and bring to a boil on stove top, stirring frequently. Transfer to 8x13 ungreased pan. Drop dough on the top of fruit mixture by spoonfuls. Sprinkle coarse sugar (demerara sugar is YUM) Place on the foil lined baking sheet.
4. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until dough is golden brown. (mine took slightly longer..maybe 30")

Serve with ice cream- DUH!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Brake

                                                                     picture courtesy

I am not a huge fan of pumpkin bread (but its growing on me- no pun intended haha!). However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE spice cake. And the simplicity of this recipe caught my eye as well. This is a combination of a bread and a cake, thus the name "brake". Adapted from bloggingitswhatsfordinner.blogspot.com.

PUMPKIN SPICE BRAKE

1 box of spice cake (I used Duncan Hines)

1/2 cup oil
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
Demerara cinnamon sugar (see below!)

Combine demerara sugar  (see pic)and cinnamon to taste (about 1/4 c. sugar to 1/4 t. cinnamon). You can use regular sugar but this sugar is worth the investment- its amazing! I will be posting more recipes featuring this sugar later! You can find it next to the other sugars in the baking isle. The brand is florida crystals.
Preheat oven to 350. Spray two to three bread pans. I used three pans and the bread was about 2-3 inches thick. Combine all ingredients in a bowl using a hand mixer except for water and cinnamon sugar mixture. Then add water.
Pour 1/6 batter into one pan, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar, then add 1/6 more batter. Then cover with cinnamon sugar. Repeat two more times to make three loaves. Cook for 40 minutes. Eat hot and spread each piece with butter.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chili Potato Burritos

Photo from tasteandtell blog

Before you mark these off--listen!  These are really good and practically vegan, if you leave the cheese off.  These were a HUGE surprise.  They sound weird, but they are really, really good.

Chili Potato Burritos
Recipe from tasteandtell blog

makes 8 burritos
4 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
milk and butter
1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup red enchilada sauce

Put the potatoes in a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.  Cook until tender but still firm.  Drain and mash, adding a bit of milk and butter.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup of the cheese, chili powder, cumin, and garlic.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce.

Spoon evenly into tortillas and roll up.  If you are going to freeze them, this is the point where you would wrap them for freezing.  If you are eating them right away, place them in a baking dish and spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top.  Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake in a 350F oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes.