Tuesday, May 29, 2012

White Sangria

A few years ago one of my dearest friends moved back to New Jersey, leaving me heartbroken and lonely. Luckily for me she bought a condo down here in Florida and comes back a few times a year. We've started somewhat of a tradition, going to her place, eating food and drinking wine; it's my favorite kind of tradition!! This time I volunteered to bring Sangria...even though I'd never made it or even tried it before. I went home and scoured the internet for recipes, decided I didn't like any of them and made up my own. This recipe is so easy and delicious that you will want to volunteer to bring it to your next girls night out.

1 bottle Riesling Wine, chilled
1/2 green apple finely chopped
1/2 red apple finely chopped
Handful of green grapes
Sliced strawberries, 6-8
1 orange sliced
1 lemon sliced
Club Soda
Disaronno (Italian liquor)

Place wine and club soda in fridge to chill. Cut up all fruit and place into a glass container, I bought mine at WalMart for $4. After fruit is in the pitcher add 1 bottle of Riesling and a large "glug" of Disaronno. Stir and place in fridge for at least 6 hours, overnight is best. Right before serving add enough club soda to fill up the pitcher. Pour and enjoy! (the fruit was so yummy we offered spoons along with the wine glasses)

Slice and chop fruit
Add alcohol 
Before serving add club soda to help 'cut the sweet'

Make sure you allow some of the fruit to get into the wine glass

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chicken Meisner (chicken stuffed with gorgonzola cheese)

My son recently graduated from college and moved to Grand Forks, ND for a newspaper job, applause!! While I was helping him relocate we discovered this fun restaurant/bar on the boarder of  Minnesota, and one night I ate the most delicious chicken dinner. I've recreated it and it is just as good as they made....if I do say so myself!

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
8 slices Prosciutto Ham 
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly salt and pepper chicken, slice chicken almost all the way through, so that it opens up like a book. Lay one slice of prosciutto on top of chicken then place a spoon full of gorgonzola cheese on top of that. Fold top of chicken back over and lightly hammer edges with either a meat mallet or bottom of a sauce pan. Lay stuffed chicken into a 9x13 baker and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs, throw in a TBSP or two of butter.  Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.

In a small sauce pan make a roux, this is where you take equal parts butter and flour and make a thick paste. Melt the butter then whisk in flour, whisk it until it's nice and smooth, let it bubble for a little but on the stove. Next slowly add milk into pan, add just enough so that you can quickly blend it in with whisk. I probably used 1 1/2 cups milk by the time I was done. Bring the white sauce to a boil, then let it simmer. Add remaining Gorgonzola cheese and chop remaining 4 pieces prosciutto and add to sauce. Stir until incorporated. 

Remove cooked chicken from oven and spoon a healthy amount of gorgonzola cheese sauce over top of chicken. Serve over white rice. Serves 4

Fillet chicken
Stuff with cheese and prosciutto 
Lightly pound sides down to seal in cheese
Start with butter, melt it
Next add flour
Whisk it together
Slowly add milk, until nice and thick
Add cheese and remaining ham
Pour over top of cooked chicken


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches

One of my daughter's friends was turning 16 this week and I wanted to send a fun and unique treat into school for her; this recipe was a quick and easy way to make decadent looking treats. Of course you can make everything from scratch, or you can cheat like I did and used store bought ingredients. I will admit that it's best to use my homemade frosting recipe.

1 package store bought cookie dough
1 container vanilla frosting
Almond bark, melted

Bake cookies according to directions and let cool. Once cooled turn half over and using either a spoon or piping bag pipe frosting onto center of cookie. Top with second cooke and slightly smoosh down. Next melt 3 pieces of almond bark inside small ziploc bag in microwave for 1 minute, kneed. Cut small hole in one side of bag and drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the cookie sandwich. Let set and serve. This version makes 6 large cookies (since I bought the 'big delux' cookie dough)

 Place cooled cookies upside down
Put a big squirt of frosting on top of cookie
You can stop here if you want, but who wants that??
Almond bark ready for the microwave
Ready to drizzle


Monday, May 21, 2012

Iced Coffee

This past year I've been on a major diet and have lost 90 pounds..... I will wait for your applause... Everyone asks me what my secret is and I am about to finally share it....iced coffee! I've been drinking this during the day and it keeps my tummy full and since I'm using fat free creamer it is a delicious nonfat treat!

For Christmas my husband bought me one of these, and it changed my life! I started making iced coffee right away, but my problem was I was going through those little k-cups so quickly! I decided to make a large batch of coffee to store in the fridge and so far it's worked out great! I made a 1/2 gallon for the pictures, but this recipe makes a gallon.

1 bag ground coffee, any flavor, any brand
Coffee filters
1 gallon water
Creamer, any flavor...but remember fat free is awesome!!

In a gallon sized container filled with water add one bag coffee. Stir, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

The next day, remove coffee from fridge and set up a straining system. I used a strainer lined with cheesecloth and placed this on top of another pitcher. Slowly pour the coffee through the cheesecloth into the new pitcher; this takes a little bit of time and patience.

Once coffee is strained you are ready to make your iced coffee. Grab a glass and fill it with ice, next pour desired amount of coffee into the glass, top with creamer, stir and indulge! I like a lot of creamer in mine!! This coffee base can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Pour coffee grounds into pitcher of water
Stir and refrigerate, loving the S
Make sure to cover pitcher
The next day you will strain the coffee grounds
I used cheesecloth, super cheap and can be found at the grocery store

 Pour coffee through cheesecloth
The grounds all end up in the cheesecloth and not the pitcher
Ingredients for the good part
Pour creamer over ice and coffee, stir


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are a perfect food to bring to a party; they are easy to make and everyone loves them. For some reason they remind me of my childhood, lemon bars were one of the first things that I learned to bake on my own. We made everything from scratch in my home and usually had all of the ingredients on hand...of course we used lemon juice from a glass bottle and I had no clue what zest was...

2 1/4 cups flour, DIVIDED
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c cold butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs
2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp baking powder
Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom and sides of 9x13 pan with either parchment paper or aluminum foil, allowing 2-3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.

Stir together 2 cups flour and 1/2 c powdered sugar. Cut in butter using pastry blender, fork or fingers..until crumbly. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, whist eggs in a large bowl until smooth; whisk in granulated sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir together baking powder and remaining 1/4 c flour; whisk into egg mixture. Pour mixture over hot baked crust.

Bake at 350 for 23 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Lift from pan, using foil or parchment paper as handles. Cool completely on a wire rack, 30 min. Remove foil and cut into bars, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

These freeze well for up to a month. 

Line 9x13 with either parchment paper of foil
Making the crust
The crust is ready
Place it in pan and bake
Mixing the filing all together
Crust out of the oven
Pour filling over top of hot crust and bake


Friday, May 4, 2012

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

When I first came across this recipe, I knew it was a winner..chocolate, peanut butter and salty pretzels....yumm!! It was super easy to make and they taste delicious! I am a little worried about them holding up in the heat tomorrow (we live in Florida) so I am going to transport them in a cooler...yes I know I am a genius!

We are going to my husband's family reunion tomorrow and I am in charge of desserts. There are going to be quite a few people there and so I wanted to make a few different things, since everyone has different tastes. I made Cinco de Mayo Cheesecake and Lemon Bars (recipe coming soon).

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar (maybe more)
3/4 cup brown sugar (maybe more)
1 1/2 bags  semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine peanut butter and softened butter in a large bowl with a fork or whisk, or in a stand mixer.  Add the sugars and mix to combine.  At this point if the filling will roll easily into balls without sticking to your hands you’re ready to go.  If not, add a little more of each sugar until you reach a consistency that is easy to roll (I used about 3/4 cup of each sugar).
Use a teaspoon measure to scoop the filling.  Roll each portion into a small ball, then sandwich them between two whole pretzels.  When all the balls are rolled and successfully sandwiched, stick the whole tray in the freezer for about half an hour.
Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each half-way into the melted chocolate.  Return to the tray and repeat with remaining sandwiches.  When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.  Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.

The consistency you want for the filling
Take a small amount of peanut butter mixture and roll into a ball and place
on top of pretzel
place a second one on top, and squish
So cute!
Dip  in melted chocolate
Place on parchment paper to dry
assembly line!!