Friday, November 28, 2014

America's Test Kitchen Key Lime Bars

 This is the other dessert I made for My in laws.  It was a bit hit too.

Key Lime Bars adapted from You're Gonna Bake it After All
Crust:
10 oz animal crackers
6 Tbrown sugar
1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly

filling:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temp
2 tablespoons grated lime zest- about 2 small limes
2 pinches salt
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
1 c bottled key lime juice
green food coloring

garnish:
1 1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Preheat to 325F. line 9x13 w foil, spray w pam.  pulse crackers in food processor about 10 pulses. should equal 1 1/4 c crumbs. Add br sugar; process 10-12 pulses. If large lumpsremain, break apart with fingers. Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse til crumbs evenly moistened with butter, about 10 pulses. Press crumbs  firmly into bottom of pan. Bake til deep golden brown, 18-20 min. Cool on a rack while making filling. Do not turn the oven off. While crust cools, in med bowl, stir cr cheese, zest and salt with  spatula til softened, creamy, and combined.  Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously til no lumps  remain; whisk in yolks with stand mixer. Add lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated. The mixture will thicken slightly. add food coloring a few drops at a time to obtain desired hue of green. Pour filling into crust; spread to corners and smooth surface with a spatula. Bake til set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15-20 min.  Cool on rack to room temp, 1-1 1/2 hrs. Cover w foil and chill, at least 2 hrs. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

I made this for when my husband's family came to visit for my mother in law's birthday.  My sister in law told me her favorite desserts were strawberry shortcake and Key lime pie.  Since I thought strawberry shortcake for a crowd might be too fussy I thought this would be a good alternative.  It was a big hit!

Strawberry Shortcake Bars via Kraft
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
2-1/2 cu cold milk
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries plus extra for decorating top
22-1/2 graham cracker sheets

Beat pudding mixes and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in Cool Whip. Gently stir in strawberries. Break whole graham sheets crosswise in half. Arrange 15 squares on bottom of 13x9 pan; cover with 1/3 pudding mix. Repeat layers twice. top with extra halved strawberries.  Chill at least 4 hrs before serving.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Taco Lasagna

The family was a bit skeptical about this dish but it turned out great! 

Taco Lasagna adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
12 no bake lasagna noodles
1 lb gr beef or turkey
3 T taco seasoning
1 egg
1 (15-oz.) small curd cottage cheese cheese
4 c  shredded Mexican or Taco blend cheese
1 (24-oz.) salsa
Optional toppings: sour cream, green onions, diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350F. In lg skillet, brown meat.  Drain and add taco seasoning. set aside. In sm bowl, mix egg and cottage cheese. In 9x13 dish, layer4 noodles, 1/3 cottage cheese, 1/3 meat, 1/3 salsa, and 1/3 cheese. Repeat  layers 2 more times. Bake uncovered 30-40 min til casserole heat and bubbly. Let stand 10 min before cutting. Top with sour cream, sliced green onions, and diced tomatoes if desired.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

PB Cake Bars

a different twist on cake mix bars.  Mrblocko who claims he doesn't care for pb desserts loved this one.  Was a good summer dessert as it only required 12 min in oven.

Peanut Butter Cake Bars via Something Swanky
1 Devil's Food Cake mix
1/3 c butter, melted
1 egg
3/4 c peanut butter (I used smooth)
2 t vanilla
3 c powdered sugar
1/2 c whipping cream
optional: 2 tablespoons of milk for thinning if necessary
1 can of store-bought chocolate frosting

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment and spray with PAM.In lg bowl mix cake mix, butter and egg. Press evenly into prepared dish. Bake 12 min. Cool completely in pan.
Meanwhile: In lg bowl combine pb and vanilla. Beat w electric mixer on med 30 sec. Add powdered sugar and whipping cream and beat until smooth, scraping bowl occasionally. If mix too thick, add 1-2 T milk to thin. Spread over cooled crust. Chill bars 30 min. Nuke frosting for 30 sec.  Make sure you've got all the foil off the top of the container. Spread  over peanut butter layer. Refrigerate for 2-3 hrs before serving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ranch Pesto Bake

I finally successfully grew basil in the garden this year.  Every year I seem to kill it, but I tried this weird purple basil and I was able to harvest enough for several batches of pesto.

I used home made pesto, but I'm sure store bought would work lovely as well.

The only change I made to this recipe was to add meat.

Ranch Pesto Rigatoni Bake adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom
1 box rigatoni (or other similar tube shaped pasta like cavatappi or penne, etc)
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup prepared pesto
28 oz can diced tomatoes drained and slightly rinsed (I happened to have fresh)
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 c cooked shredded chicken/turkey or 1 lb cooked gr turkey/chicken or bulk sausage

Cook and drain pasta, return to pot. Stir in ranch , pesto, tomatoes, meat and one c mozzarella. Transfer pasta to 9x13 baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella . Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 15 min. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 min til cheese completely melted.

Friday, November 21, 2014

OMG Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

These are our new favorite Zucchini Cookies.  They are great warm from the oven, but even better frozen.

Chocolate Oatmeal Zucchini Cookies Recipe by Crazy for Crust
½ c butter
¼ c veg oil
½ c br sugar
½ c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 c flour
1 t baking soda
½ t cinnamon
¼ c cocoa powder
3 c quick oats
1 c shredded zucchini (about 1 sm)

Preheat oven to 350F°. Line 2 cookie sheets w parchment paper. In med bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinn, and cocoa. Set aside. In bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, oil, and sugars. Add egg and vanilla. mix on low speed til combined. Slowly mix in dry ingred. Add oats and mix on low. Continue mixing on low and add zucchini. Mix until well combined. Scoop uniform balls onto cookie sheets. Bake 11-14 min til center no longer looks wet. Cool 10 min on sheets before removing. Yield: about 2 dozen large cookies

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Crockpot Creamy Taco Chicken

This is a great way to make chicken for tacos!

3 Ingredient Crockpot Taco Chicken via The Pinning Mama
3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Can Original Rotel Tomatoes with Green Chilis
4 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese (can sub light)

Place chicken in slow cooker and cover with Rotel . Cook on low 6-8 hrs. 30 min before end of cook time,  shred chicken. Place cream cheese on top of chicken (do not stir). When final timer goes off, stir cream cheese into meat. Serve as tacos, on a salad, in quesadillas, over rice, in a casserole, as enchilada filling, etc.