Thursday, November 29, 2007

Boursin Cheese Potatoes

Here's another great recipe to help you use up the rest of your homemade Boursin Cheese!

3 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled
One 5 ounce package Boursin cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 pint heavy cream
fresh chives or parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and slice potatoes into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Toss potatoes with salt and pepper. Heat cream and cheese together, on top of stove until cheese has melted. Stir mixutre until thoroughly blended. Layer half of the potatoes into a 2 quart baking dish (this is best done in a deep dish instead of a long, flat dish). Cover potatoes with half of the cream mixture. Repeat with remaining potatoes and cream mixture. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Sprinkle top with chives or parsley.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chocolate Cheesecake Candy Cane Bars

You can't go wrong with this recipe! Chocolate....Cheesecake.....Mint! Three beautiful things! And this recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, so it's not too sweet! Yum!

20 chocolate wafer cookies
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground coffee beans
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon light or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil.
For the crust: Process the chocolate wafers in a food processor with the butter, sugar, coffee, and salt until fine. Evenly press the crust into the prepared dish covering the bottom completely. Bake until the crust sets, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl; heat at 75 percent power until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir, and continue to microwave until completely melted, up to 2 minutes more. (Alternatively put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)
Blend the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream together in the food processor until smooth. Scrape down the sides, as needed. Add the eggs and pulse until just incorporated. With the food processor running, pour the chocolate into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
Pour the filling evenly over the crust. Bake until filling puffs slightly around the edges, but is still a bit wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.
For the Glaze: Put the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in microwave safe bowl. Heat glaze in the microwave at 75 percent power until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir the ingredients together until smooth; add the sour cream. Spread glaze evenly over the warm cake and scatter the crushed candy canes over top. Cool completely, then refrigerate overnight.
Cut into small bars or squares. Serve chilled or room temperature.
Store cookies covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Ashlee side note: I usually crush my candy canes inside of a ziploc bag with a rolling pin to keep them together and tidy. It does take a while for the cheesecake to set up, so do this a day ahead to make sure it's really ready!
You can use this recipe without the candy canes for any other time of year. It's the only mint aspect of the recipe, so it would just be chocolate cheesecake bars...but that still sounds yummy too!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Black Beans

This is a great side dish for any Mexican meal you are making! The cuisine of choice for Jaysen is Mexican so we make it frequently!

1 (16 ounce) can black beans
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine beans, onion, and garlic, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Season with cilantro, cayenne, and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes, and serve.

Ashlee side note: Though very carb heavy, these beans have less than 1/2 a gram of fat per serving and only 112 calories! Not too shabby! You can use these for really great bean and cheese burritos too. I would suggest adding the cayenne to the beans in the beginning so the flavor really gets into the beans.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Santa Baby!

I made these cookies last year as part of my holiday baking and not only were they easy....they were so fun because they turned out so cute!

2 packages (6 ounces each) white baking chocolate, chopped
1 package (1 pound) Nutter Butter sandwich cookies
Red colored sugar
32 vanilla or white chips
64 miniature semisweet chocolate chips
32 red-hot candies
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt white chocolate, stirring occasionally. Dip one end of each cookie into melted chocolate. Place on wire racks. For Santa’s hat, sprinkle red sugar on top part of chocolate. Press one vanilla chip off-center on hat for pom-pom; let stand until set.
Dip other end of each cookie into melted chocolate for beard, leaving center of cookie uncovered. Place on wire racks. With a dab of melted chocolate, attach semisweet chips for eyes and a red-hot for nose. Place on waxed paper until chocolate sets.
Yield: 32 cookies
Ashlee side note: I'm not so great at the "dabbing" of melted chocolate to attach pieces so I just bought one of those little tubes of decorator gel and used that to attach the pieces. Much easier for me! You can also use mini M&Ms for the eyes if you'd like. Just don't let the kids turn Santa evil by giving him red eyes! Those turn out scary! ;0)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mint Capped Brownie Cookie Cups

So excited about this recipe because it uses my new favorite candy! Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses! Chocolate and mint.....such a good combination!

48 Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses

2/3 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 48 small muffin cups (1 3/4 in diameter) with paper or foil baking cups. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat butter, sugar, water and vanilla in large bowl on medium speed of mixer until well blended. Add eggs; beat well.

3. Stir together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating on low speed just until blended. If necessary, refrigerate dough until firm enough to handle. Shape dough into 1 inch balls; place in prepared muffin cups.

4. Bake 11 t o13 minutes or until cookie surface is set. Cookies will appear soft and moist. Do not overbake. Cool about 5 minutes on wire rack. Press chocolate kiss into surface of each cookie cup. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle each cookie with powdered sugar. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Ashlee side note: Did you know they make Hersheys Special Dark cocoa for baking? If you are like me....the darker the chocolate the better! So, give that a try!

Friday, November 16, 2007


OK, one more recipe for this holiday! Who doesn't like a hot drink on a cold day?

1 gallon apple cider
1 quart orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 large can pineapple juice
24 whole cloves
1 cup sugar
4 sticks cinnamon

Put all of this in a large crockpot if you've got one big enough. If not, put in a large pot on the stove and let simmer. Your whole house will smell yummy and you get to drink it too!

Ashlee side note: Obviously you don't drink/eat the cloves or cinnamon, but the flavor of these will soak into the liquid making the drink super yummy. This is a nice change from the usual apple cider.

Rainbow Jello

My mom makes this every year for Thanksgiving though she just puts it in a 9x13 pan and only uses colors red through green. But I thought this picture was just beautiful! I might have to try making it in a bundt pan!

1 (6 oz.) package of each color of jello you are using. We like to use cherry, orange, lemon, and lime.
1 cup sour cream for each color of jello
If you are going based off of the picture above, dissolve the grape jello in 2 cups boiling water. Remove 1/2 cup and place in medium sized bowl. To this 1/2 cup, add 1 cup sour cream and stir well. Pour sour cream mixture into your bundt pan and put on a level shelf in refrigerator and chill until set. When firm, pour reserved grape jello liquid over creamy layer; chill until firm. Repeat with remaining colors of Jello -- each with a creamy layer and a clear layer.
Ashlee side note: Be sure that each layer you are pouring on is cool enough so that you don't melt the layer you just chilled! So, the jello liquid you made using boiling water needs to be room temperature before pouring it on the cream layer. And make sure you use cold sour cream, as that should lower the temperature of the liquid you add to it enough to be ok.
I've helped my mom make this, but never actually made it myself. Let me know if you made it so I know how it went! ;0)

Kentucky Derby Pie

Another great pie recipe for Thanksgiving. It's called Kentucky Derby pie because it's so rich, but it's the best version of pecan pie that I've had, and I don't like nuts!

1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 cube butter, melted and cooled
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together ingredients and put into an unbaked pastry shell. Bake in 325 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Ashlee side note: How easy is this? And I promise will love it! You will not be disappointed!

Thrifty Cream Pie

This is another recipe that has been in my family for FOREVER! It makes a quick and easy cream base for any of the cream pies (besides chocolate) that you would make. I figured since Thanksgiving was coming and we would all be gorging ourselves on pie...I'd share a few of my families pie recipes with you!

1 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter

Scald 1 cup milk. Mix sugar, salt, flour, and remaining milk together. Stir into hot milk and cook slowly until thickened, stirring constantly. Cook for 5 minutes. Put egg yolk in bowl and slowly add about 1 cup of mixture to it to temper. Add this back into milk mixture and cook one minute longer. Add butter and vanilla. Cool. Pour into baked pastry shell. Cool until chilled through. Cover with whipped cream.

For a coconut cream pie: Stir 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut into filling.
For banana cream pie: Layer sliced bananas with cream filling ending with bananas on top.
For Raspberry: add one cup raspberries to cooled filling before putting into pie shell.

Ashlee side note: I grew up with this for Thanksgiving. Nothing better than Grandma's banana cream pie!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pumpkin Cookies

I got this recipe from some friends this last weekend and will be making them on Thursday for my candle party for people to munch on. They are super quick and require few ingredients!

2 boxes spice cake mix
1 large can pumpkin
chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet)

Just mix it all up together. The moistness of the cookie comes from the pumpkin and all the spices are already included in the cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until done!

Ashlee side note: I'm a cookie bar person. I don't have the patience to wait for 4 or 5 trays of cookies to bake. So, I usually just make cookie bars. Just put all of the batter into a 13x9 dish instead and bake! Quick and easy!
Also...if you are making them "cookie style" keep the batter refrigerated between batches. If you let the dough get warm, you will have flatter cookies. (This is a tip for all types of cookies!)

Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies

I just came across this recipe. It's a sugar cookie, so you know it's yummy....but how cute are these? Thought I'd share. I'm going to make them to take over to the Burnham's for this Thanksgiving.

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® Create ' n Bake™ refrigerated sugar cookies
1 container (16 oz) chocolate creamy frosting
Candy corn
Orange decorating icing
Black decorating gel
Miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits

1 . Heat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies as directed on roll. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.
2 . Spoon chocolate frosting into resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut small hole in bottom corner of bag. On each cookie, pipe frosting on outer edge of half of cookie. Arrange candy corn over frosting for feathers.
3 . Pipe orange icing onto each cookie to resemble turkey face and feet. Use orange icing to attach baking bits to turkey face for eyes. Pipe black gel on baking bits for centers of eyes.
Ashlee side note: This would be a fun thing to do with the kids while they wait for the Turkey to be done, or even after dinner. Just have the cookies pre-baked and let the kids make their own turkeys.

Beef n Bean Bake

This is what's for dinner tonight at my house. Quick and easy meal you just throw together and bake. My kind of dinner!

1 lb. ground beef
1 can Campbell's® Condensed Fiesta Chili Beef Soup
3/4 cup Pace® Thick & Chunky Salsa
3/4 cup water
8 corn tortillas (6-inch) OR 6 flour tortillas (8-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

COOK beef in skillet until browned. Pour off fat.
ADD soup, salsa, water, tortillas and half the cheese. Spoon into 2-qt. shallow baking dish. Cover.
BAKE at 400°F. for 30 min. or until hot. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Ashlee side note: You could also make this without the tortillas and serve it over Fritos chips instead. Add a dollup of sour cream on the top and you can't go wrong!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fazoli's Breadsticks

So, I went out to Fazoli's this last weekend with some girlfriends. I have never been there, but now I'm wishing Twin Falls had one. So good! All I ordered was a Smoked Turkey Panini, but it was so good! Anyway...the best part about this restaurant is everyone gets FREE warm breadsticks. And not just plain old breadsticks...these are garlic breadsticks. You will die when you try them!

Just buy the prepackaged bake and serve breadsticks that you find in the bakery section. Fazoli's doesn't bake their don't need to either! ;0)
They use a liquid butter substitute called whirl. But I assume they do that because they would be constantly melting real butter if they used that instead. So, once breadsticks are baked, slather them GOOD with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic and salt OR garlic salt. And that's it. I know it sounds dumb. We could have thought of that! And I was hoping there was something really SPECIAL about the way they made theirs. But there's not.
These are just so yummy! So, give them a go!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Italian Crockpot Chicken

(Another great recipe from Holly!) This recipe has been around for awhile, but it's one I always forget about and love it every time I have it, and it's sooo easy!

1 jar of italian dressing
chicken or pork chops

Put everything in the slow cooker and cook on low 6 hours. I don't know amounts, it just depends on your family size. Just make sure you cut your potatoes into wedges so they don't turn into mush! The bigger the better. We made this Sunday with the roasted red pepper italian dressing and it was a nice change from regular italian!!

Black Angus Potato Soup

Black Angus is a steak house...apparently a really good one. And apparently they make amazing potato soup. I'm assuming it's got to be comparable to the loaded potato soup at The Garden Cafe here in Twin. That's some good soup! So, here's a recipe my sister in law, Holly, shared with me for the Black Angus potato soup.

4 large baking potatoes ( I use red since they are supposed to be better)
2/3 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup flour
6 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
4 green onions -- chopped and divided
12 slices bacon -- cooked and crumbled
1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese -- shredded and divided
8 ounces sour cream

Wash, dry and prick potatoes with fork. Bake in 400°F oven for 1 hour or until done. Peel and cube potatoes. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add salt, pepper, green onions and 1 cup of cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in sour cream. Add extra milk if necessary. Serve with remaining green onions, bacon and cheese.

Holly side note:) I also add fresh parsely and I don't use white pepper, and if you don't have bacon on hand bacon bits work just fine. You can even use bacon bits and bacon, we did and it was really good!! I also used about 8 large red potatoes. Goes really really good with homemade rolls!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Candy Bar Shortbread

Just got this recipe in a new recipe book and I'm excited to give it a go. Thought I'd share it with all of you! It's from the recipe book 'Passion for Baking' by Marcy Goldman.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt
3 (3.52 oz) Toblerone chocolate bars, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Stack 2 baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until blended. Add flour and salt and mix to make a stiff dough that does not quite hold together. Pat dough into a 13 x 9 inch pan lined with parchment paper and set pan on prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden, 25 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate on hot uncut shortbread. Let set about 5 minutes and smear chocolate around. Cut into 2 inch squares and remove cooking to fridge or freezer to set up.
Makes 2-3 dozen shortbread.
Ashlee side note: The picture above shows the cookies sprinkled with walnuts, but why would you want to ruin this dessert? ;0)
Anyway...have you ever had a Toblerone? It's been years, but I remember them being soooo good. So, how could this recipe go wrong right?