Recipe of the Month – Peas, Onions and Mushrooms

Growing up, this was one of my favorite side dishes. Now that I have my own family, I am sad to say they don’t care for peas so I serve this at holiday dinners or make a smaller batch just for me. It also is sometimes referred to as “Company Peas.” The good thing about this recipe is you can easily adjust the ingredient amounts to your personal tastes.

Ingredients

2 T. butter

1 cup minced onions

1 8-oz. package of mushrooms, sliced

1 16-oz package of frozen peas

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

Directions

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasinally for 4 minutes. Stir in peas and cook until peas are tender (about 8 minutes). Stir in salt and pepper and serve. You can also add a dash of thyme.

Serves 6 to 8

Recipe of the Month – To Die for Cake #AtoZChallenge

imagejpeg_0This month I am participating in the A to Z Challenge. My topic of choice is antagonists. As soon as I noticed that the letter D landed on the day I feature a recipe, I knew I wanted to do To Die for Cake. Now there are many rehttp://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/cipes out there with this title. I have one for Pumpkin Bars that are “to die for.” But this recipe is one that my mom took to a church function and received tons of compliments.

Cake Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained.

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter, softened

3 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar

1 t. vanilla

1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

½ cups chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine cake ingredients; beat until smooth. Pour in greased 15 X 10 X 1 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool.

Combine icing ingredients until smooth. Spread over cake and sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Yields about 24 servings.

And in case you want to check out my other antagonists from the challenge…

A is for Apocalypse

B is for Bad Boys (parenting)

C is for Cruella de Vil

D is for Darth Vader (Quote)

 

Recipe of the month – Creamy Jalapeno Dip

img_2231If you have ever eaten a Chuy’s Mexican restaurant (a chain in the south and east of the United States), hopefully you have had a chance to try their Creamy Jalapeno Dip that the serve with their salsa and tortilla chips. I found this “copy-cat” recipe online and while it may not be the exact same as Chuy’s, the dip is pretty good.

Ingredients

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 packet of Ranch Dressing Mix

1 clove garlic, pressed

1/2 cup pickled jalapeno peppers (I couldn’t find pickled so I just used some from a jar.)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

2 T. fresh lime juice

Directions

Wash and dry cilantro. Use only the tops of the cilantro stems, discarding the actual stems. Chop cilantro into course pieces. Place all items into a blender or food processor. Pulse 7 to 8 times to mix. Pour dip into a bowl and serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe of the Month – The Best Cutout Sugar Cookies

img_5490As a child, I remember baking Christmas sugar cookies which my brother and I would then decorate. I have done the same with my own kids. We do Halloween and Christmas cookies and sometimes even Valentine’s Day cookies. For years, I used the rolled sugar cookie recipe in a cookbook my grandmother gave me. The cookies were okay and frosted well so I never took the time to look for a better recipe until this past Christmas. A search on Pinterest turned up this recipe for the Just a Taste blog. We all liked the cookies and these will now be our go-to Sugar Cookie recipe. I have included the frosting recipe that we always use too.

Ingredients

3 cups flour

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 t. vanilla extract

Also – assorted cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkles

Directions 

In a bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter (let it sit out to soften first) until smooth. Add sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the vanilla.

With mixer off, add flour, salt and baking powder. Beat just until combined. Remove dough and shape into a 6-inch wide disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Remove dough from fridge and cut off a piece. (I did mine in fourths.) Roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper until about 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters and cut your desired shapes. Place them on the cookie sheets and bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until pale golden. Transfer to rack to cool completely.

When in doubt, remove the cookies from the oven just prior to them turning golden. They will crisp slightly as they cool and this way they will remain soft. If like your cookies crisp, bake them the full time.

Continue with the rest of the dough. Left over scraps can be re-rolled. I found that letting the dough sit out for a few minutes softened it up and made rolling easier (after 2 1/2 hours of chilling). If you chill your dough overnight, you mostly likely will need to let the dough soften.

Yield: about 4 dozen (depends on thickness of cookies and size of cutters)

Homemade frosting for sugar cookies

Ingredients

6 T. butter or margarine, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

2 t. vanilla

2-3 T. milk

Directions

Mix butter, sugar, vanilla and 2 T. of milk until smooth. Add more milk to reach desired consistency.

Recipe of the Month – Bacon Maple Fudge

fudge

My mom found this recipe at the end of a book she was reading (Maple Syrup Murder by Grace Lemon). It is a basic maple fudge recipe with bacon added to it because…well everything is better with bacon. It was delicious but my mom and I think it could use more bacon because…well what isn’t better with more bacon in it. If you don’t like bacon, then leave it out and simply enjoy some maple fudge.

Ingredients 

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup butter

Pinch of salt

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 t. vanilla

5 slices of cooked thick cut bacon, cut and crumbled

Directions

Combine sugars, cream, butter, salt and maple syrup into a sauce pan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and continue to stir until mixture reaches the soft ball stage (drop a small amount into cold water -it should look like a small ball sinking) or use a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and add vanilla and crumbled bacon. Let mixture sit for about 10-15 minutes to cool and thicken up. Stir vigorously until mixture loses its gloss. Turn it into a buttered dish and smooth the top with a spatula.

Recipe of the Month – Easiest Oreo Cheesecake

img_5316I love Oreos and cheesecake so it seemed like a perfect idea to serve this wonderful dessert at Thanksgiving. It is easy to make and the accompanying notes from SouthernBite.com even tell you not to worry if the edges or top of your cheesecake getting brown. That is easy to hide with a little whipped topping and will still taste awesome. And they were right.

Ingredients

1 (14.3 ounce) package of Oreos, divided

3 T. butter, melted

4 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 t. vanilla extract

4 eggs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9-inch spring from pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place 18 Oreos in a gallon-size Ziplock bag. Crush the cookies with a rolling pin. Pour the crushed Oreos in a small bowl and mix with melted butter. Pour the mixture evenly into the spring-form pan and press firmly to bottom to create a crust.

In a bowl, combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add eggs and mix well. Roughly break up the remaining cookies and add them to the mixture, reserving some to sprinkle on the top. Gently fold cookies into batter and then pour onto crust. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to get out any air bubbles. Sprinkle with remaining Oreos.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the center is almost set. Cool and the refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours). Drizzle with chocolate syrup and add a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Like Oreos? You might want to try Oreo Pie or Oreo Truffles. Rather have cheesecake? Then try this Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe.

Recipe of the Month – Brownie in a Mug

brownie-in-a-mug-13There is nothing like a warm, hot brownie straight from the….microwave? Yep, these single serve brownies are cooked in your microwave and are perfect for the days when you want a little sweet dessert but don’t have the time or want tons of brownies. (Wait, who wouldn’t want a ton of brownies?)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons water or milk

14 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 dash salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions

In a 12 oz. coffee mug, add water/milk, butter, vanilla and dash of salt. Whisk well.

Add cocoa powder, whisk well. Add sugar, whisk well. Add flour, whisk well.

Microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. Center should be slightly molten. Be careful not to overcook.

Enjoy with a spoon. Careful brownie will be hot. Also good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it.

Want a bigger batch of brownies? Try this recipe for Frosted Brownies.