Thursday, September 29, 2011

Samoa Bark

I sent these to Sam the other day as a last minute thing.  I was mailing a package to her of all the things she had forgotten to take with her to school and she always likes when I send her something sweet so I needed something easy.  She loves Samoa Girl Scout cookies and shortbread so this was perfect.  With no baking time needed it was ready to be cut and boxed up in very little time. It was very messy to eat but so delicious. 

Recipe adapted from

20 oz. dark (or semi-sweet) chocolate chips + 4 oz for drizzle
1 box of Lorna Doones
14 oz. bag of caramels
4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 tbsp water

Line a baking sheet with foil.  Set aside.  Melt 20 oz. of chocolate chips of your choice in the microwave. Spread the melted chocolate to your desired thickness on the baking sheet. I made it a little on the thick side  so it did not cover the whole baking sheet but at least 3/4 of it.

Top your warm chocolate evenly with the shortbread cookies. 

Place baking sheet in freezer while you do the next steps.

In a non-stick skillet on medium low heat toast your coconut stirring occasionally.  This will take about 10 minutes or so but be careful because once it starts to brown you have to keep moving it around so it doesn't burn.  When the coconut is toasted, set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a medium saucepan along with the 2 tbsp of water.  Cook over medium-low heat.  Stir continuously until the caramel has melted.

Immediately fold in your toasted coconut.  Remove your chocolate from the freezer and spread the caramel/coconut evenly on top.  Melt your remaining 4 oz of chocolate in the microwave and drizzle over the top of the caramel/coconut.

Put back in the freezer for 5 minutes to set chocolate.  Cut with a very sharp knife into squares.  Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!  Susan

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple Sausage Stuffed Peppers

I made these Apple Sausage Stuffed Peppers for dinner the other night and although I have about two dozen other things I could blog about I decided to jump them up to the front of the list. I love stuffed peppers because its one of those meals that you only have to make one dish and its a complete dinner all on its own. This is far from the traditional tomato based, ground meat version. This was delicious, healthy and surprisingly light. I actually found the recipe in the coupon circular last weekend. It came with coupons for both the sausage and the rice so I figured what the heck. I'm glad I took the chance with it because I will definitely make it again soon.

1 Cup Jasmine Rice
1 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
6 Peppers - Yellow, Green, Red or Orange
1 Package Johnsville Apple Chicken Sausage - Sliced thin
1 Onion - Diced
8oz Cremini Mushrooms - Sliced
1/2 Cup Dried Apricots - Diced into small pieces
1/2 Cup Craisins
1/2 Cup Red Apple - Diced into small pieces
1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Dried Sage
1 Tsp Dried Oregano

Begin by preheating the oven to 350F. Prep the peppers by taking off the tops, cleaning out all of the seeds and brushing them inside and out with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle them with S&P and roast them for 30 minutes. Although they are more expensive then the green and red peppers when I make this next time I'm going to stick with the yellow and orange peppers. They are sweeter and have a better flavor when mixed with the apple sausage and fruit. While the peppers are roasting you can begin to make the sausage and rice mixture.
Make the rice according to its package but instead of using water use the chicken stock this will give the rice a nice flavor. In a large skillet over medium heat use the remaining Tbsp of olive oil. Heat up the sausage for 3 or 4 minutes by itself then add the onion. Stirring occasionally once the onion begins to turn opaque which will be about 4 minutes you can add the mushrooms.
Prep all your fruit and put it aside in a small bowl. Once the mushrooms have cooked for 4 or 5 minutes and they have begun to brown you can add your fruit all at once. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently for another 5 minutes until the fruit has begun to soften. Your rice should be done by now so carefully mix it into the pan.
Stir in the Sage, Oregano, S&P and cook for another 2 minutes. Your peppers should be done roasting by now. Take them out of the oven and when the stuffing mixture is finished spoon generous portions it into the roasted peppers.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shrimp Po' Boys

I've saved a bunch of shrimp recipes lately in my favorites which is good because I just brought a large bag of frozen shrimp. I had all intentions on making another shrimp sandwich but when I saw this I knew I'd enjoy this recipe better. It was lighter then most shrimp po' boy sandwich since they usually use breaded shrimp.


1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
About 25 small shrimp (depends on size but this was enough for 2 sandwiches)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sub rolls
hot sauce

Mix together the first 7 ingredients in shallow bowl. Defrost shrimp and remove tail if necessary. I brought a bag of very small shrimp. I wold recommend more of a medium size since after cooking they get very small. Add shrimp to mixture and coat. 

Heat oil in saute pan. Add shrimp and cook about 3 minutes each side until shrimp is pink and thoroughly cooked. Cut the rolls in half. I spread a mixture of mayonnaise and hot sauce on the roll. It added a little kick to the already spicy shrimp. It was really good though the next time I made it I just used plain mayonnaise. Top with shrimp, lettuce, and tomato. 

Enjoy! Kathryn 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Apple Cider Donuts

We were down the shore last weekend and it was not beach weather or even walking on the beach with a sweatshirt on weather because it was so windy so Nicole and I decided we wanted to make some donuts. I already had the donut pans from when I made the chocolate donuts with chocolate ganache.  A baked donut makes you feel better about eating donuts all together.  While they were still warm we sprinkled half of them with confectioners sugar and the other half with cinnamon sugar.   This recipe was adapted from dianasdesserts.  These donuts tasted best when eaten the day they were made. 

2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large egg slightly beaten
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Confectioners sugar, cinnamon and granulated sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray the donut pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In another bowl whisk together egg, brown sugar, apple butter, maple syrup, apple cider, yogurt and vegetable oil.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just moistened.

Fill donut pans 2/3 full with batter and bake for 10 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. 

Loosen edges and turn donuts onto a rack to cool.  Clean the donut pan with a paper towel.  Recoat the pan with cooking spray and then refill with the donut batter.  While the second batch is cooking fill one plastic bag with confectioners sugar and the other one with a mixture of cinnamon and granulated sugar.  Put donuts in one bag or the other and coat as desired.

Eat with a big glass of apple cider and enjoy!  Susan

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Citrus Coconut Chicken Tenders

I am a big Food Network fan so naturally John and I watch the show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". After a season or two of listening to the stars favorite foods and even seeking some of them out at local restaurants we started our own "Best Thing We Ever Ate" list. This recipe was inspired by Michael Simon's pick of his favorite fried chicken that he found at a restaurant down in Miami, Florida. It sounded so good I decided to try and make something similar. I will have to admit it took me more than one try to get it right but I'm proud of it because it's the first recipe I have made up all by myself so far.

Ingredients for Marinade:
1 Cup Orange Juice
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic - Minced
Salt & Pepper

Ingredients for Breading:
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Shredded Sweetened Coconut
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Lite Coconut Milk

1 package Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Pam Spray
Chinese 5 Spice Plum Dipping Sauce

Start by combining all of the citrus juices in a medium sized bowl and mix well. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and mix again. Add the chicken tenders and marinade them covered in the fridge for at least 3 hours. The longer it marinades the better.
When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 F. Then take out all of your breading ingredients and make yourself an assembly line of shallow bowls or plates. Place your marinade bowl on the counter, than a shallow dish of flour, the a bowl of coconut milk and lastly a shallow dish of the panko breadcrumbs mixed with the shredded coconut flakes. At the end of the assembly line have a large skillet over medium heat with the vegetable oil ready for the chicken.
Saute the tenders about 5 minutes each side, be careful only to flip each tender once or the breading may begin to fall off. Frying them quickly before they are baked will give them a nice crisp texture. I didn't do this the first time I made these but it really made all the difference. Once they are browned spray a baking sheet with Pam Spray and put them in the oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking the inside of the chicken. You can serve them as an appetizer with Asian Plum Dipping Sauce or as a dinner with some white rice and broccoli.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Baked Lemon Spinach Tortellini

I found this recipe and cooked this a long a time ago. Probably late spring but never got around to posting it. I think its a good meal for the end of summer on a cooler night.


bag of tortellini (dry spinach and cheese)
4 strips of bacon
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
pinch or two of salt
sprinkle of pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon of basil
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 large lemon
2 cups fresh spinach
3/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2.3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Adapted from Our Best Bites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil large pot of water and add tortellini. I choose the tortellini in the dry pasta aisle. I had never had it and it was surprisingly tasty. Cook according to package instructions.

Microwave 4 or so pieces of bacon. Cook unto crispy and pat with a paper towel. In a skillet add two tablespoons of olive oil and garlic to pan. Cook for about a minute. Add flour to pan and stir together. Then slowly add milk and stir until smooth. Then salt, pepper, basil and red pepper flakes and continue to stir till the sauce comes to a simmer.

Zest lemon and then cut it in half to juice. Add 2 teaspoons of zest and 2 tablespoons of juice to the sauce. I'm a big lemon fan and I added a little more probably more like 3 or 4 tablespoons. Let thicken then remove from heat after a few minutes.

When tortellini is cooked drain and put back in pot. Add bacon (keep a tablespoon out), spinach, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese to the pasta. Add sauce and stir to combine. Place pasta in baking dish I used a 7 x 11 Pyrex dish. Top with the rest of the mozzarella, Parmesan, and bacon. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10. Let cool before serving.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Pie

My daughters and I all subscribe to the Food Network Magazine.  When the July/August issue arrived and this was on its cover we all agreed we would have to try this.  We just had to wait patiently for the tomatoes in my husband's garden to ripen.  I have to warn you - this isn't a 30 minute meal.  Between cooling the dough and baking times it took almost 4 hours so don't start making this at 6:00 if you want to eat at 6:30.  But everyone loved it and it was a good thing that I made two of them.

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp shredded manchego cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2-1/4 lbs mixed heirloom tomatoes
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp bread crumbs
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme   

To make the crust pulse the flour, cornmeal and salt in a food processor to combine.  Add the butter and 3 tbsp manchego, pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter.  Drizzle in 4 tbsp ice water and pulse until the dough comes together.  Add 1 more tbsp of ice water if necessary.

Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk.  Wrap and refrigerate until firm about 45 minutes.

Put the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 13" round.  Transfer the dough to a 9-1/2" deep dish pie plate or tart pan.  Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges.  Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork.  Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line the crust with foil and then fill with dried beans.

Bake until the edges are golden about 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and beans and continue to bake until golden all over about 10 to 15 more minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool.

To make the filling heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until golden.  Let cool.  Meanwhile thinly slice the tomatoes and toss with 1 tsp kosher salt in a colander.  Let drain and gently toss ocassionally about 30 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 375.  Combine the remaining 3/4 cup manchego, mozzarella, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, 2 tbsp each chives, parsley and the thyme, salt and pepper, and the sauteed onion in a bowl.

Spread in the crust.  Arrange the tomatoes on top.  Drizzle the remaining tbsp of olive oil and season with pepper.  Bake until the tomatoes are browned, about 50 minutes.  Top with the remaining 1 tbsp each chives and parsley. 

Enjoy!   Susan

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Toffee Brownies Bites

These brownie bites are the second thing that I made off of my 30 by 30 list. I had never made a brownie from scratch before and I'm not exactly sure why. I've been making cookies from scratch since I was a little girl and cakes from scratch for the last year. So why was I still buying brownie mix in a box?! Could it be more difficult than a cupcake or a cookie?! Absolutely not, in fact it was easier than both! Give these a try they are fantastic with a glass of milk after dinner or just cause you want something sweet.

Adapted from

3oz Unsweetened Chocolate
5 1/3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs - Slightly Beaten
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Flour
15 Mini Heath Bars - Coarsely Chopped
Pam Spray

Begin by pre-heating the oven to 350F and spray your mini muffin tin with Pam Spray. In a medium sized pot over medium heat slowly melt down the chocolate and butter until they are smooth. Make sure you are mixing frequently so they do not burn.
Remove the pan from the heat and add all of the ingredients except the flour (sugar, vanilla, eggs and salt). Mix until well combined. Next stir in the flour.
Scoop the finished batter into the mini muffin tin, a heaping tablespoon should be enough to fill each cup.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until completely set. As the brownies cook, unwrap and chop up your heath bars. Once they come out of the oven let them cool in the tin for 2-3 minutes before gently pressing the pieces of heath bar into the top. Once the heath bar pieces are set into the tops of the brownies take them out to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Enjoy!! - Nicole
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