Sunday, February 27, 2011

Whatchamacallit Cereal Bars

Another Friday night meant another kid sleepover so these little sugar nuggets were whipped up in no time when I ran out of snacks to feed the hungry girl mob. Beware because these are very sweet so cut in small girly squares. My husband declared they tasted just like the candy bar Whatchamacallits so hence the name.

Whatchmacallit Cereal bars

6 cups puffed rice cereal
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 0z. butterscotch chips

Combine the puffed rice cereal and the peanut butter in a large mixing bowl (do not mix yet). Set aside. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Combine the honey and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until boiling. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the hot mixture over the peanut butter and rice cereal. Mix well with a spoon or spatula until the peanut butter is completely melted and all ingredients are evenly combined.

Press the mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Combine the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-sec increments stirring occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Pour over the cereal layer and smooth with a spatula. Cover and chill until the top layer is set before slicing into bars.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bisquick Coffee Cake

My mom's friend said this is so quick you can make it minutes before guests arrive! Super easy because you probably already have everything on hand. Delish and would be great with some nuts in the topping as well.

Bisquick Coffee Cake

2 cups Bisquick
3 Tbls. sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
2 Tbls. melted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbl. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2-4 Tbls. cold butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients with wooden spoon and spread in greased 8x8 baking dish. Mix topping together with fork and sprinkle over cake. Bake for 30 minutes and best served warm.

Birthday Banana Pudding Pie

If you know one thing about my father is that he never just goes with the flow. We just celebrated his birthday and when we asked him what kind of birthday cake he wanted, I assumed he'd request some easy variation that I could pick up at the local grocery store. Wrong. His request was for banana cream pie. Oh sure, just an easy request so I was on a search to make a homemade version and this was the perfect balance of banana goodness. Not too sweet and making the homemade pudding was not nearly as complicated as I imagined.

Banana Pudding Pie
(yet another great recipe from Lick the Bowl Good and originally from SouthernLiving)

Vanilla Wafer Crust (recipe below)
Vanilla Pudding (recipe below)
Whipped Cream (recipe below)
3-4 medium bananas, cut into slices
20 vanilla wafers plus more for decoration (see note)

Vanilla Wafer Crust:
2 1/2 cups (about 30) crushed vanilla wafers
1/2 cup butter, melted.
Vanilla Pudding:

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
For the crust:

In a medium bowl, stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter until blended. Firmly press on bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool.

For the pudding: Whisk together sugar, flour, eggs, yolks and milk in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 10-12 minutes or until it reaches the thickness of chilled pudding. (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will be thick enough to hold soft peaks when whisk is lifted. It must be thick and slightly bubbly to set up properly!) Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.

Transfer to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic directly on top of the custard so it doesn't get a "skin" on it. Refrigerate til completely cool. (Can be made up to a day in advance.)

Whipped Cream: In a medium bowl, whip cream on medium high speed til soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat til thick and stiff. Don't overbeat or you'll have butter!

Assembly: Arrange half of the banana slices evenly over bottom of cooled crust. Spread 1/3 of cooled pudding over bananas, then layer with 20 vanilla wafers. Spread 1/3 more pudding over vanilla wafers, then add the remainder of the banana slices and cover them with the last of the pudding. Spread the whipped cream over the entire pie and decorate with more vanilla wafers if desired.

The layers from the bottom up should be: vanilla wafer crust, bananas, pudding, vanilla wafers, pudding, bananas, pudding, whipped cream

Refrigerate at least for 4 hours. Overnight is best. Consume within 2 days.

NOTE: It's best to prepare the pudding in advance to allow it to chill properly. If you prefer this pie be topped with a meringue then there's no need to refrigerate the filling. See the original recipe here.

Also I used an entire box of vanilla wafers for the pie. If you want to decorate with additional wafers then get a second box to be on the safe side.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blender Strawberry Ice Cream

We've been on a quick mini-vacation in Florida and every night my mom has made this quick ice cream for my kids. When strawberry season rolls around at home this will be a staple at our house.

Blender Strawberry Ice Cream

3 cups whole FROZEN strawberries (1 pkg)
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 eggs (pasteurized or egg substitute can be used)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice (works without also)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Soften the berries for few minutes before beginning. Mix the cream, eggs, and sugar in the blender. Jog the blender to mix. With the motor running, feed in the strawberries one at a time. Blend until the mixture is smooth, stopping to stir with a spatula. Add the lemon juice and vanilla in the last few seconds. Serve at once or store in freezer. To double, make two batches separately.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Salmon Recipe

Years ago I hosted a Murder Mystery party for about 20 of my friends and I was so excited to serve some spectacular dishes until I realized it was a Friday during Lent and had to eliminate all meat from my game plan. I had plenty of Catholics coming over who would not have appreciated beef stew! So after some quick thinking, I decided to brave it and serve salmon. Even the non-fish eaters were raving and this recipe has now become legendary with my friends and still is one of our favorites. The herbaceous mixture is lovely and light and a perfect way to serve fish. Note that this recipe will not serve a 20-person party but can be easily doubled or triple for a crowd.

THE Salmon Recipe

1 3-lb. salmon fillet (I never buy salmon steaks but I guess you could)
1 1/2 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbl. butter
1 Tbls. Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves - finely minced
2 dashes of hot sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried dill
2 tsp. capers - drained from liquid

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place salmon is shallow baking dish. Combine the rest of the ingredients in small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes on stove top over medium heat or until combined. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Pour entire mixture over salmon, cover and bake for about 15 minutes then 5 minutes uncovered or until fish is no longer translucent. We like to serve this with couscous to soak up any flavorful juices!