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Crepes

Life is short…have dessert for breakfast.  😀

Okay, this is not really a dessert, but it could be.  In fact, crepes are one of those versatile foods that can be sweet OR savory (cheese, mushroom, spinach, and chicken crepes are a favorite!).

My family loves fruit-filled crepes with a sweet cream filling.  We have it for breakfast, as snacks, and they’re a special treat for dessert.

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My youngest loves filling hers with Nutella and strawberries, but add some sliced bananas (oooh, and maybe some peanut butter too) for an Oh-My-Goodness flavor experience!

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These crepes and tender and sweet all on their own, and do not taste eggy like the ones served in some restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants, I used to think that crepes were an indulgence we could only have at those popular breakfast restaurants.  Not anymore.  Crepes are really quite simple to make.

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Have I tempted you enough to make some for yourself?  No?  How about now? 😀

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So what are you waiting for?  Head into that kitchen and get started.  Here’s how to make it.  (If you’re new to my blog, you will always find my complete recipe at the bottom of my post.)

For the batter, you’ll need the same basic ingredients you use to make pancakes — eggs, sugar, butter, milk, and flour.  I also add a pinch of salt and vanilla extract my batter.

Place the eggs into a large mixing bowl.  Beat it slightly with a whisk.

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Add sugar to sweeten it a bit.  If you plan on making savory crepes, I recommend decreasing the amount of sugar or omitting it completely.

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Vanilla extract gets mixed in next.  You could also use lemon extract, or some lemon zest instead of vanilla extract, but remember that a little goes a long way.

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Add a pinch of salt to the mixture.  Did you know that salt is a natural antioxidant?  Salt also adds taste and helps bring out the flavors present in the flour and other ingredients.

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Melted butter gets mixed in next.  The butter serves two purposes in this recipe.  It adds flavor, but it also helps the crepes not stick to the pan during cooking.

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Whisk in the milk.

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Next comes the flour.  It may seem like you’re adding way too little flour for the amout of liquid.  However, unlike pancake batter, the ratio of milk to flour is 2:1 for crepe batter, which makes a very thin batter.

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Whisk until you get a smooth batter.  A few tiny lumps of flour left in the batter are okay.

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Set the batter aside while you heat up your pan.  I recommend using a non-stick skillet.  I use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

Lightly spray the pan with butter-flavored cooking spray (just to be on the safe side to ensure your crepes don’t stick to the pan).  Pour 1/2 cup of batter onto the heated skillet.

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Cook the crepe over medium-low heat; you may need to adjust the heat as you go along, turning it down or up, depending on how quickly the crepes cook.

Use a spatula to gently lift the edges. If the crepe feels like it is still stickng to the pan, let it cook for a little while longer.  A telltale sign the crepe is ready to be flipped over is when you see it start to “wrinkle.”

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Flip the crepe over to lightly brown the other side; this should only take a minute or less.

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Continue making crepes until all of the batter is used up.  This recipe makes 8 crepes (more if you use less than 1/2 cup of batter per crepe).

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So now that the crepes are done, it’s time to make the filling.  This recipe is for a sweet filling.

Cream together softened cream cheese and a bit of powdered sugar.

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It should resemble cream cheese frosting at this point.

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To lighten it up, mix in whipped cream.  I use Cool Whip to make things easier.  Hey, I’m all about making things from scratch, but sometimes semi-homemade is just fine. 🙂

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Okay, so let’s see where we are in this endeavor.

Crepes — CHECK.

Sweet cream filling — CHECK.

All that’s left to do is fill the crepes with filling and your favorite fruit.  We like — okay, we LOVE — fresh berries in ours.

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Spread some filling down the middle of a crepe.

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Add fruit, as much as you like.

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Fold each side over the middle, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and ENJOY! 😀

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Scroll down for my complete recipes.

 

 

Crepes
 
Author:
 
Tender crepes filled a sweet cream; it's perfect for breakfast or served as a dessert.
Ingredients
Crepe batter:
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup flour
Filling:
  • 8-oz cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 8-oz cool whip
  • Fresh berries
Other:
  • Powdered sugar
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray
Instructions
Make the crepes:
  1. Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl; beat slightly with a whisk.
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients for the batter. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Pour ½ cup of batter onto a heated skillet. Cook over medium-low heat until lightly browned on one side. Flip the crepe and cook the other side until lightly browned.
Make the filling:
  1. Place the cream cheese and powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to mix until creamy.
  2. Mix in the Cool Whip.
Assemble the crepes:
  1. Spread some cream filling down the middle of a crepe.
  2. Top with fresh fruit.
  3. Fold the sides over the middle. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
ENJOY!

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Rice Krispy Treat Easter Eggs

This is a fun and yummy project you and your kids can make this Easter.

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To make these delicious and cute treats, you’ll need:

  • 6 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (10 oz.) marshmallows
  • Sweetened shredded coconut
  • Green food coloring
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Peeps marshmallow chicks
  • Large plastic eggs that can open/split in half
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray
  • Small candies

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Make some Rice Krispy treats using the recipe printed on the cereal box.

Spray the insides of large (and clean) plastic eggs with butter-flavored cooking spray.  Fill each plastic egg half with the cereal treats while still warm and pliable.  Use your thumb to create an indentation inside each egg half.

Carefully remove the formed cereal treat from each egg half.

Fill the thumbprint hole with your favorite candy (we like jelly beans and peanut m&m’s).  Press the halves together to form the cereal treat eggs.

Decorate with marshmallow Peeps, “grass” and “twigs” and enjoy!

To make the “grass”, tint sweetened coconut flakes green using a few drops of green food coloring.  Use pretzel sticks for the twigs.

Have fun and enjoy these delicious treats!

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Pistachio Cake from Scratch

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I’m sure you’ve made a cake using boxed cake mix with pudding in the mix at one time or another.  The added pudding made the cake so moist and rich.

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I wanted to bake something green.  I’ve made green velvet cake before, but I remembered a childhood favorite — pistachio cake — and I knew that’s what I wanted to make instead.

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Up to now, I’ve only made this cake using boxed yellow cake mix and added a box of instant pistachio pudding mix to the batter.  While it tastes good, I wanted to make a “scratch cake.”

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I actually found a recipe online for pistachio cake made from scratch, but let me tell you, it was an epic fail.

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You see, baking, while relatively easy for the most part, is a science.  Needless to say, the recipe I used didn’t quite have the scientific part down, and after that kitchen flop, I was determined to come up with a “from scratch” recipe that not only was easy to make but tasted good and was tried-and-true too.

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My recipe is not just for St. Patrick’s Day — it’s perfect for your next get-together, dessert, or potlucks.

You can find my complete recipe at the end of this post below, along with my recipe for super-simple cream cheese frosting (that’s great on cinnamon rolls, by the way).

Give my recipe a try. I think you’ll like it. 🙂

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Here’s how to make it.

Place the flour, pudding mix, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a small bowl.  Whisk to combine the ingredients.  Set this aside for now.

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Place the milk and buttermilk in a small measuring cup.  Set aside.

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Cream the butter and sugar.

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Mix in the eggs, one at a time.

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Mix in the extracts and green food coloring.

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Alternate mixing in the flour mixture and millk mixture.  Start with 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Next, add 1/3 of the milk mixture. Repeat until all of the flour and milk mixtures have been added to the batter.

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Fill cupcake wells 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.  Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

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Make the frosting. (Yay!  This is my favorite part. 🙂 )

You’ll need cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk.

This is a very creamy, spreadable frosting, much like what you’ll see on cinnamon rolls.  In fact, this frosting would be PERFECT on my cinnamon rolls.

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Cream the butter and cream cheese together.

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Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk.  Mix until smooth and creamy.

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Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes and ENJOY!

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Pistachio Cake from Scratch
 
Author:
Serves: 12-18 cupcakes
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
Cake:
  • 1⅔ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup milk (whole or lowfat)
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup white, granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pistachio extract (if you can't find this, use almond or hazelnut extract instead)
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or use pistachio extract for more pistachio flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon milk
Instructions
Make the cake:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, pudding mix, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Mix the milk and buttermilk together in a small measuring cup. Set aside.
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter with a hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add the extracts and food coloring to the butter-egg mixture. Mix to combine.
  5. Mix in ⅓ of the flour mixture, then mix in ⅓ of the milk mixture. Continue adding the flour and milk mixtures, alternating each one, until all have been mixed into the batter.
  6. Fill cupcake wells ¾ full. You should have enough batter for about 18 cupcakes. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool completely when done. Spread cream cheese frosting on top of cooled cupcakes.
Make the frosting:
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix until creamy.
Enjoy!

 

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Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies are so much fun to make — and eat!  My daughter even says they “taste like Thanksgiving and Christmas.” 😉

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These aren’t the kind of cookies that you bake and form into shapes suitable for ornaments or making gingerbread houses.

In fact, this dough cannot be rolled out like traditional gingerbread.  Rather, the dough is soft and moist (and actually requires chilling in order to handle it better), and the cookies bake up super fluffy, soft, and chewy.

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Funny story here…

I brought a couple dozen cookies to work and offered them to my coworkers. They all smiled politely when I said they were gingerbread cookies, but then politely declined to eat any. The SECOND I told them they were SOFT and CHEWY, not the hockey-puck-rock-hard-gingersnap cookies, they ate them like they hadn’t eaten in days! 😀

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So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Start by placing the flour into a medium sized mixing bowl.

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Now for the heart and soul of these incredible gingerbread cookies.  You’ll need baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, salt and ginger.  Even before the cookies bake, the aroma of these spices make you think of fall and Thanksgiving, and all that comes with holiday baking.

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Mix the spices with the flour.  I use a whisk to really mix it all together.  You don’t want any of the seasonings to clump together when you mix it with the wet ingredients.  Set this flour mixture aside for now.

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Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl.  I use a stand mixer because this makes a lot of cookie dough, but you can use a hand mixer as well.

As mentioned above, this makes a large batch of cookie dough, but don’t worry.  These cookies are so good, you’ll be glad you made a lot of them. 🙂

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Beat the butter until creamy.

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Add the brown sugar to the mixing bowl.

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Mix until light and fluffy.

This is a great mixture to spread over hot dinner rolls, by the way.  Just add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and voila! Sweet Cinnamon Butter!

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Now I want to make some dinner rolls, but I digress.

Anyhoo…back to the cookies.

Add the molasses, eggs and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl.

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Mix on low speed for a minute or so, or until you get a nice creamy consistency like what’s pictured below.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl if you need to then mix again.

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Add the flour mixture, one cup at a time, mixing on low speed just until the flour mixture is incorporated into the wet batter.

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Continue mixing in the dry ingredients, a cup at a time, until a dough forms.  Stop mixing when you no longer see clumps of dry ingredients.  Do not over mix the dough.

Because this is a really wet dough, you need to chill it for several hours before making dough balls.  I usually prepare the dough while dinner is cooking, then I pop the mixing bowl into the freezer while we eat dinner.  After dinner, I take the dough out of the freezer and bake the cookies.

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Now that your dough chilled sufficiently enough to handle, scoop out small amounts (about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons) and form into balls.  I use a small cookie scoop to do this — I have a bit of OCD; I like all of my cookies to be the same size. 😉

Roll the balls of dough in a bowl of granulated sugar.  Ensure the entire ball is well-coated with sugar.

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Place each ball of dough onto a baking pan.  If you have regular baking pans, make sure to line the pan with parchment paper first.  I use stoneware pans; there is no need to line them with parchment paper.

Place the balls about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.  These cookies will spread, but they won’t spread too much.

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Bake the cookies for 10 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the pan for a couple of minutes then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

See how nicely they puff up?  As the cookies cool, they will settle just a little bit, but they will still be a bit puffy, and they will most definitely be soft and chewy.

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Place any uneaten cookies in an airtight container.  They will stay soft and chewy for several days (if they last that long). 🙂

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Here’s my complete recipe.  I think you’ll really like this one.  ENJOY!

 

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
SOFT & CHEWY gingerbread cookies that make you think of Thanksgiving and the holidays, all year round. These are NOT at all like the typical rock-hard gingersnap cookies.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1½ cups (or 3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup dark molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup white, granulated sugar (for coating the cookie dough balls)
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl, place the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and ginger. Whisk to combine all the dry ingredients then set aside.
  2. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat the butter until creamy.
  3. Add the brown sugar to the creamed butter. Mix until fluffy.
  4. Add the molasses, eggs and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides if required and mix again.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients, one cup at a time, with the butter mixture. Stop mixing once the last bit of the dry ingredients are mixed into the dough (do not over mix).
  6. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 2-3 hours. (I placed my bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes to speed things up.)
  7. Scoop out some chilled dough and roll into a ball. I use a small cookie scoop that holds 1½ tablespoons.
  8. Roll each ball of dough in the granulated sugar, coating the entire ball. Place the coated balls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (if you use a stoneware pan you don't need to line it), about 1½ inches apart. These cookies will spread only a little, so you don't need to space them too far apart.
  9. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for a couple of minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
These cookies are soft and chewy, and will stay soft for several days (if they last that long!) when stored in an airtight container. This recipe makes about 6 dozen small cookies.

 

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Chamorro Potato Salad

Chamorro Potato Salad is a must-have at any Chamorro gathering.  Your fiesta menu would not be complete without it.

There are several variations to this classic side dish, but Chamorros pretty much make it the same basic way.  We use potatoes (of course) — any kind good for baking, but russets are most common — eggs, black olives, pimentos, sweet pickle relish and mayo (more on this later).

Some people add other vegetables such as celery, carrots, or freshly diced pickles, but I like mine with just the ingredients I listed above.

I like a lot of eggs in my salad.  I usually add anywhere between 8 and 12 eggs for 5 pounds of potatoes.  When I was little, before I knew what I was missing, I would get my mom and sisters to pick out all of the eggs from their potato salad and give it to me — that was all I’d eat out of it, just the eggs.  Now I know better and eat it ALL.  It’s so good.

My complete recipe is at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂
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 Start by squeezing out as much liquid from the relish, pimentos and olives.

If you don’t squeeze out as much liquid as possible, your salad will be wet and runny, not to mention died the color of the olives, pimentos and relish.

Who wants to eat a mushy blackish-reddish-greenish concoction?  If that description had you grimacing in disgust, then it served its purpose.  Squeeze out the liquid.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 😉

You can dump out all of the contents into a fine-mesh strainer, and using the back of a large spoon, press out as much liquid as possible.  I managed to press out about 3/4 cup of liquid from the relish, and that was BEFORE I used a cloth to really get the liquid out (see more about this technique below).image

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Another option — which is my preferred method — is to place all of the wet ingredients into the center of a clean cheesecloth or kitchen rag (don’t use towel-like cloths or you’re likely to get strings of fabric into your salad).  Gather the edges of the cloth together, twisting at the top to compress the ingredients.  Squeeze the balled up portion to get out as much liquid as you can.  Keep squeezing until no more (or very little) liquid extrudes through the cloth.

Set the relish, pimentos and olives aside.image

Meanwhile, rinse the potatoes and place them into a large pot of hot water.  Add the eggs to the pot.  Bring the water to a boil.  Cook the eggs (in the boiling water) for 10-12 minutes then remove them from the pot.  Keep cooking the potatoes until they are done (insert a butter knife or metal skewer into the center of a potato — if it slides in smoothly and easily, the potatoes are done).
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Remove the potatoes from the boiling water.  If you let cooked potatoes sit in water for too long, they soak up too much water, becoming mushy.

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Allow the potatoes and eggs to cool before peeling the skin and shell off.  If you want to decorate the top of your salad, set aside one egg yolk.
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Cut the potatoes and eggs into small cubes.  You can make them as big or as small as you like.  Don’t cut them too small, however, or you’ll end up with a mashed potato salad.
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Add the seasonings to the dry mixture — I like adding onion powder, black pepper and salt.  The seasonings get distributed easier with the dry potatoes.  If you add the seasonings after adding the mayo and wet condiments (relish, olives and pimentos), you might get clumps of seasonings that don’t get mixed well.

Stir gently to mix the seasonings with the potato-egg mixture.  Taste it at this point and add more seasonings to your liking.  Don’t add more salt, however.  Mayonnaise has salt; wait until you mix the mayo into the salad before adding more salt.
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Add the relish, olives and pimentos to the bowl.  Stir gently to combine.
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Doesn’t it look so festive already?  If you like more olives, relish, and/or pimentos in your salad, by all means, add more.  Just be sure to squeeze out as much liquid as you can.

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Fold in the mayo.  Chamorros will tell you that you MUST use Best Foods or Hellmann’s brand mayonnaise in Chamorro Potato Salad.  I must admit that I hold true to that sentiment as well.  Our classic Chamorro potato salad just doesn’t taste the same if you use “Dressing” (aka Miracle Whip).

I like my potato salad a little heavy on the mayo.  Use less if you like your salad a bit more on the dry side.
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♩ ♪ ♫ ♬   Ta daaa!  ♬ ♫ ♪ ♩

It’s almost done.

My mom ALWAYS decorated the top of her potato salad, even if we were just eating it at home and not serving it at a party or family gathering.
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Remember that egg yolk I told you to set aside?  Well, it’s time to for it to make its debut.  Place the yolk in a small fine-mesh strainer.

Oh…wait…before you do anything with the yolk, spread a very thin layer of mayo (a couple of tablespoons should do it) over the top of the salad.  This serves as the “canvas” for your egg yolk decoration.

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Use a spoon or fork to gently push the yolk through the strainer, creating a “snowfall” of egg yolk over the top of the potato salad.  Mom always saved some pimento and olives to make pretty flowers as well, and she’d make flower stems using celery leaves.  Be as creative as you like.

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See, isn’t this pretty (even without pimento and olive “flowers”)? 🙂

imageServe and ENJOY!

My potato salad goes perfectly with Red Rice, BBQ Chicken, Pancit and Diago’ Kimchi. 🙂

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Potato Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Chamorro
 
A classic Chamorro side dish that is a must-have on your Fiesta table.
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds potatoes
  • 8 hard boiled eggs (set aside one yolk), diced
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (4.25 oz) chopped black olives, squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible
  • 2 jars (4 oz) diced pimentos, squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible
  • 1 jar (10 oz) sweet pickle relish, squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible
  • 3 cups mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Rinse the potatoes then place in a large pot filled with hot water. Bring the water to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are done (it's done when a knife or fork easily pushes through the potato when pierced). Remove the cooked potatoes from the water; allow to cool completely then peel and discard the potato skin. Cut into small cubes.
  2. Place the cubed potatoes and diced eggs into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the onion powder, salt and black pepper. Stir gently to combine.
  4. Add the drained and squeezed olives, pimentos and relish to the bowl. Stir to combine.
  5. Fold in the mayonnaise. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Serve and ENJOY!

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