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Buying and Storing Potatoes


With BBQ season upon us… what better side dishes than those made with potatoes… they go with virtually every meal.. and they’re so versatile … when I started preparing this post I looked over my recipe file.. and was actually astounded at the variety and quantity of my potato recipes… from salad recipes to mashed potatoes and everything in between… it seems I have hundreds of recipes for potatoes.

So what better way to start than with tips on buying and storing potatoes…

BUYING

I know it can be difficult to actually look over all the potatoes in a bag… but I do try to look over as many as possible.. things to look for are..

Look for ones that are clean and smooth.

I try to gently squeeze them to make sure they’re firm.

Look for potatoes without cuts or bruises…

And don’t be shy about talking to the produce manager if you find all the bags have a soft or cut potato in them… why pay for something you can’t use?… most good grocery stores will remove a spoiled potato and replace it with a good one.

STORING

Store potatoes in a well ventilated space that’s ideally between 45 and 55 degrees F. I have plastic bins that have “grate-like” surfaces so air can circulate around them… I’ve found they do add to the shelf life of my potatoes…

Avoid storing potatoes in areas that reach higher temperatures, such as underneath the kitchen sink or next to heat producing appliances such as the fridge or stove.

Storing potatoes in the refrigerator is not recommended since colder temperatures cause the starch in the potatoes to turn to sugar … this will result in a sweet taste … it will also cause discoloration. If you have stored them in the fridge… to reduce the discoloration, allow them to return to room temperature before using.

Keep potatoes out of light, sunlight included.

Don’t wash potatoes before storing them, they will remain damp and cause spoilage.

If storing potatoes in bags, perforated plastic bags and paper bags are best for extending the shelf life of your potatoes.

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Recipe: Amaretto Mascarpone and Blueberries Dessert Crepes


I previously posted a recipe for a Red White and Blue Amaretto Mascarpone Trifle… well… if Trifle is not your thing or you want a more elegant dessert… this recipe for Amaretto Mascarpone and Blueberries Dessert Crepes is just the ticket.

The filling is quick and easy … the same as what was used in the trifle recipe… and fresh blueberries… what could be simpler?

TIPS

You can use any crepe recipe you have or use mine… I urge you to make your own and not buy tjose pre-made ones in the grocery store… they really are easy to make and so very good. My crepe recipe is here.

I have a previous post of Crepe Making Tips.

I must warn you.. the filling is very sweet… but when paired with the tart blueberries… the combination is just perfect.

I sprinkle powdered sugar on the dessert just before serving… wait until you are ready to serve it to sprinkle the powdered sugar.. otherwise it dissolves into the crepe.. not a bad thing.. it just takes away from the presentation.

You can make these in advance. Layer them between sheets of waxed paper. Store them in the fridge in a sealed Zip Loc bag. Bring them to room temperature before assembling the dessert.

This recipe will make about 5-6 dessert crepes, depending on the size of the crepes.

These are heaven in your mouth…. I hope you try them!






Recipe: Amaretto Mascarpone and Blueberries Dessert Crepes

All you need:

Crepes
Fresh Blueberries
Powdered Sugar

For the filling:

1 pkg. (8 oz.) mascarpone, softened
1 pkg. (4 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon Amaretto
¼ cup sugar

All you need to do:

To make the filling:

Place mascarpone, cream cheese, heavy cream, Amaretto and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Using the paddle attachment beat the mixture on medium speed until completely mixed and creamy.

To assemble the crepes:

Place a generous amount of filling down the middle of the crepe.

Sprinkle generously with blueberries.

Roll the crepe up and place on a plate.

Garnish with additional blueberries and sprinkle powdered sugar over the crepe.

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Recipe: Turkey Club Salad


This recipe for Turkey Club Salad was really a no-brainer for me… I wanted a salad… and all the flavors of a Turkey Club Sandwich without the bread… what could be simpler?

This quick and easy meal allows you to have the bacon… after all without the bacon a Turkey Club Sandwich would be just a Turkey Sandwich… and the same goes for the salad… and as long as you don’t go crazy with dressing… it drastically cuts the calories….

And for those of you like me that just love salads.. this is a great tasting salad…

TIPS

If you want to cut fat and calories… use a low calorie and/or low fat or non-fat dressing.

My picture shows the salad on a plate without dressing… dressing to be added… to use less dressing… instead of making the salad as pictured… put all the ingredients in a large bowl and add a small amount of dressing and toss it.. then put it on the plate… you tend to use a lot less dressing when you do it that way.

I left off quantities, use as little or as much of each ingredient that you like.

I used Rotisserie Turkey from the deli counter at the supermarket… I like it because it is less fatty and tastes the most like those fabulous Thanksgiving leftovers.

I use 2 strips of bacon per person…



This makes a great lunch or add a small bowl of soup and you have yourself a great supper.






Recipe: Turkey Club Salad

All you need:

Salad greens
Rotisserie Turkey, chopped
Tomatoes, cut into chunks
Bacon, cooked and chopped
Croutons
Dressing of your choice

All you need to do:

Layer the ingredients on a large plate.

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Recipe: Red White and Blue Amaretto Mascarpone Trifle


This recipe for Red White and Blue Amaretto Mascarpone Trifle is one I experimented with when I had lots of blueberries and strawberries. The combination of flavors … the tartness of the fruit with the sweet and tang of the filling complement each other perfectly.

I love to make trifles… all kinds.. the recipes you can invent are limitless… and I’m never one to get stuck in a rut making the same thing all the time… so with the 4th of July coming up .. what better time than now to post a red white and blue dessert.

TIPS

This filling is sweet… probably too sweet to be eaten alone or without a tart fruit… so I would recommend you stick to blueberries and strawberries, don’t substitute a sweeter fruit.

I wrote the recipe as I made it… I used Amaretto for the almond flavoring… you could use almond extract instead.. I used 1 tablespoon of Amaretto… to use almond extract instead.. you would use ¼ teaspoon .. or to taste.

This is a rich dessert… I wouldn’t recommend you top this trifle off with whipped cream.. I just think it would be too much.

I used a plain pound cake… sliced and diced into small cubes… about ½ slice per serving.

I made individual trifles… this recipe can be doubled or quadrupled to make one large trifle depending on the size of your bowl. This recipe made 2 large individual trifles with a little left over filling.

My individual trifle glasses are pretty good size.. this dessert is rich and filling… you may want to consider using a smaller glass.

You can use other types of glasses to make a very pretty presentation… a martini glass or a small plain juice glass will work nicely.

If you’re doing this for a party.. consider using those small clear plastic glasses.
Make sure the mascarpone and the cream cheese are soft.. it will make a creamier filling. You can soften cream cheese quickly in the microwave… click here for my post for instructions.

I hope you enjoy this terrific dessert.






Recipe: Red White and Blue Amaretto Mascarpone Trifle

All you need:

1 pkg. (8 oz.) mascarpone, softened
1 pkg. (4 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon Amaretto
¼ cup sugar
Pound cake, sliced then cut into small cubes
Blueberries
Strawberries, sliced

All you need to do:

Place mascarpone, cream cheese, heavy cream, Amaretto and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Using the paddle attachment beat the mixture on medium speed until completely mixed and creamy.

Place a layer of blueberries in a dessert glass.

Cover the blueberries liberally with some filling.

Place a layer of pound cake cubes over the filling.

Place a layer of strawberry slices on top of the pound cake.

Cover the strawberries liberally with filling.

Decorate the top with more blueberries and sliced strawberries.

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Recipe: Western Egg Salad


This recipe for Western Egg salad is another one of my adaptations for Egg Salad. I like to change things up a bit to keep things interesting. I thought taking the basic ingredients of a Western Omelet and using them in an Egg Salad would taste pretty good… I’m happy to report it was more than pretty good… it was very very good.

TIPS

If your hard-boiled eggs have gray ring around the yolk… see my previous post… “Making Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs” … for tips on making them without the ring around the yolk.

I also have a post on a quick and easy method of dicing eggs perfectly… Dicing Hard-Boiled Eggs Made Easy.

I decided to use pimento in the recipe instead of red pepper, since I was using green pepper, I didn’t want the pepper flavors to overpower the salad. You certainly could use diced red pepper instead but I urge you to try it my way.

I always use Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise.

The amounts are what I used, you can add more or less depending on your tastes.

This recipe makes enough for 2 sandwiches.

I hope you try this… it will give a new spin on an old favorite.






Recipe: Western Egg Salad

All you need:

3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon chopped pimento
1 tablespoon ham, finely diced
1 tablespoon green pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon green onion (both white and green parts), finely diced
1 ½ tablespoons Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

All you need to do:





Combine all ingredients in a bowl.













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Dicing Hard-Boiled Eggs Made Easy


Perfectly diced eggs all the time… every time. I don’t know about you but sometimes my dicing leaves something to be desired… either I end up with minced yolk or odd large pieces of white… if you’re like me.. this tip is for you.

This quick tip for dicing eggs is one from my Mother… use an egg slicer. Egg slicers are inexpensive and easy to use. You can find them at Walmart or kitchen stores on the gadget wall.

Before I get into how to do it… here’s another easy tip on boiling eggs perfectly… no gray ring around the yolk here…. see my post “Making Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs”.

So how do you do dice eggs easily?... it’s as easy as 1-2-3…




Simply peel the egg and place it in the slicer and slice.





Bring the top back up and move the egg to lay the other way and slice again.








Dump the contents in a bowl and use a knife to gently separate the dices… works perfectly every time!

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Recipe: Pasta Stir Fry with Pancetta Roasted Red Peppers and Mushrooms


If you follow this blog you already know I love Pasta Stir Frys… I’ve made them for years… it’s a quick and easy meal and a great way to use up odds and ends in the fridge… perfect for on a budget… but don’t tell your guests it’s on a budget because… trust me… these meals are so good and picture perfect.. no one will suspect.

For this Pasta Stir Fry.. I used commercially prepared roasted red peppers, chopped pancetta and mushrooms. For a change of pace… instead of slicing the mushrooms .. I quartered them.. I wanted them to have “presence” in the dish.

For the sauce, I used a light garlic and herb sauce… and sprinkled grated parmesan cheese over the top for the final touch. All I can say.. we devoured it!

TIPS

I bought roasted red peppers in oil, mine were imported… and chopped them myself.

The sauce can be any sauce of your choosing… we like a garlic and herb sauce… I made mine with non-fat milk… I didn’t want a thick goopy sauce for this.. I wanted it to compliment the dish not over-power it.

I did not add salt to the sauce because of the salt in the pancetta… add salt after tasting it if you prefer.

I found pancetta (an Italian bacon) in the imported section by the deli… it came already chopped. If you can’t find it… you can substitute regular bacon or chopped cooked ham… regular bacon has a stronger flavor so you may want to use less.

This is such an easy and quick meal to prepare… serve it with fresh bread and a salad.. it’s fit for company!







Recipe: Pasta Stir Fry with Pancetta Roasted Red Peppers and Mushrooms

All you need:

For the Pasta:

1 box Bow ties, prepared according to package directions
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
6 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 pkg (4 ounces) chopped pancetta
Sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese

For the Sauce:

2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 ½ cups fat free milk
White pepper to taste

All you need to do:

To make the Sauce:

Make a classic roux by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add the flour and stir with a cooking spoon over the heat for about 2 minutes… you want the flour to lose its floury taste.

Add the milk and whisk vigorously with a wire whisk until all the lumps are out of it and it thickens (about 4-5 minutes).

Add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Add pepper to taste.

Set aside.

To make the Pasta Stir Fry:

In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the pancetta stirring occasionally until some fat has been rendered.

Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the pasta and roasted red peppers and cooking, stirring well, for about 5 minutes.

Add the sauce and toss well.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately.

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Recipe: Cobb Salad


This recipe for Cobb Salad is a slight variation to the original Cobb Salad served by the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood. It was invented in the 1930’s at the Brown Derby and is named for the owner, Robert Howard Cobb, although it is not certain if he actually invented it or his chef, Chuck Wilson.

This internationally known dish served as the original or a variation is delicious. This time of year as the hot weather rolls in (actually the hot weather has been baking most of the country already)… salads are a welcome meal…. so I decided to post a variation to the original Cobb Salad.

The original Cobb Salad has a bed of mixed greens, tomato, hardboiled eggs, bacon, chunks of boiled or roasted chicken, avocado, bleu cheese and chives with a red wine vinaigrette.

My variation… I used roasted deli turkey instead of chicken… and instead of bleu cheese.. I used a Monterey Jack/Cheddar combination…. for the dressing… I left it up to each individual to make a choice.. I personally chose a Buttermilk ranch.

TIPS

Make the bacon in the oven.. it’s a no fuss way to make bacon.. and line your pan with foil so clean up is a snap… if you need to know how to do it… see my post “Making Bacon in the Oven”.

Make perfect hard boiled eggs… no gray ring around the edge… follow the easy instructions in my post “Making Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs”.

Not everyone likes Bleu Cheese or Roquefort cheese… find out ahead if you plan on serving guests… a simple substitution can be a meal saver.

Serve this with some fresh bread and you have a delicious meal… and put together in minutes… how great is that?!






Recipe: Cobb Salad

All you need:

Mixed salad greens
Tomatoes, chopped
Hard boiled eggs, white and yolk separated and chopped
Avocado, chopped
Bacon, cooked and chopped
Roast Turkey or chicken, chopped
Cheese, your choice, shredded
Chives
Dressing of your choice

All you need to do:

Arrange salad greens on a large plate or platter

Arrange ingredients on top of salad greens.

Serve with dressing.

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Recipe: Pesto Tomato and Mozzarella Panini


This recipe for Pesto Tomato and Mozzarella Panini is one of those quick and easy ones… perfect for a quick lunch or supper… served with a pasta salad… this can be a terrific treat for guests too.

TIPS

I have a Panini press that I really love… it makes making paninis a snap… if you don’t have one.. you can just grill these… flipping them will be a challenge but not impossible.

If you do make them in a grill pan… make sure that you cut the mozzarella a bit thinner and put a lice on the very bottom (directly on top of the bread) and the last thing you put on it… so that the top piece of mozzarella will be next the top piece of bread… as the cheese melts it will keep the sandwich together.

Use a “sturdy” bread that will hold shape when pressed down by the Panini maker. I used a crusty Cuban bread… ciabatta will work very well with this also.

Plum tomatoes work best with this.. they have less fluid and will run less than other types of tomatoes.

I put sliced black olives on some of our sandwiches… we like black olives… that ingredient is optional and only a suggestion.

Try these… they are so good!






Recipe: Pesto Tomato and Mozzarella Panini

All you need:

Mozzarella, thick sliced
Plum tomatoes, thick sliced
Crusty bread, cut into 1 inch slices or Ciabatta bread, sliced in half
Olive oil
Pesto (homemade or store bought)
Sliced black olives (optional)

All you need to do:




Brush olive oil on 1 side of each slice of bread (or the tops of the Ciabatta bread.





On the other side of the bread, spread a small portion of pesto.

On top of the pesto, lay sliced mozzarella, then tomatoes, then sprinkle a few sliced black olives (if using), then add a slice of mozzarella.

Place the other slice of bread (pesto side down) on top of the mozzarella.

Grill until both sides are golden and cheese has melted.

Serve hot.

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Recipe: Caramel Brickle Ice Cream


It’s that time of year again.. ICE CREAM TIME!... and continuing my ice cream series from last year… I decided to start with Caramel Brickle Ice Cream.

First… I want to make a case for taking the plunge and buying an ice cream maker… I don’t care what you’ve been told… you cannot make a great ice cream without it. Ice cream makers are relatively inexpensive and truly “pay back” the cost of the machine pretty quickly.

Last week.. Warren and I wanted ice cream.. the hot, hot weather.. just made it a natural thing to want… so we stopped at our local grocery store… and picked up a container… it was a 1 ½ quart size… gallons are a dying breed… but then again you’d have to take out a second mortgage to pay for one… well maybe not that bad… BUT… the cost of ice cream has skyrocketed… our 1 ½ quart STORE BRAND ice cream was close to 6 bucks…. that’s insane! I can only imagine what it does to family food budgets this time of year.

So… we picked up Caramel Brickle Ice Cream… not only was it expensive… the brickle and caramel were scarce… I caught Warren mining for “hot spots” of brickle and caramel.. utterly ridiculous at those prices.

So this week I decided to pull out the ice cream maker and fire it up…. I made a batch about the same size for half the price. … with lots of brickle and caramel throughout.

TIPS

I was surprised at the price range of milk and heavy cream… the heavy cream at a regular grocery store was close to double what it was at Walmart. So if you’re doing this to save a few bucks on ice cream.. watch your prices… the best price for ingredients was at Walmart.

I did an introductory ice cream making post last year … Ice Cream Making Basics and Vanilla Ice Cream and Basic Ice Cream Making Instructions

The quantities for brickle and caramel worked well for me… you can use less or more depending on your tastes.

I used Hersheys Caramel Ice Cream Topping in a jar.. it’s thicker than the stuff you can squeeze out of a container.. and I highly recommend you use it.

I added a bit of caramel at the end while it was still churning.. it added caramel flavor to the ice cream.. which we really liked… but if you’re a purist and want vanilla ice cream with brickle and caramel… add some brickle during the last minute of churning and add the rest and the caramel as you put it into your container… swirl the caramel with a knife.

So… happy summer… and I hope you enjoy this!






Recipe: Caramel Brickle Ice Cream

All you need:

1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup Heath Bits ‘O Brickle
½ jar (16 oz. size) Hersheys Caramel Ice Cream Topping

All you have to do:

In a mixing bowl, using the wire whisk attachment, beat at low speed the milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved… about 2 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.

Flip the machine on and pour the ice cream batter through the opening at the top of the plastic lid.

Set a timer for 20 minutes.

When the timer goes off… add about ½ of the brickle and allow the machine to mix it in. The ice cream will expand… so work quickly … I also added a little caramel to it to get the caramel flavor throughout.

Let the machine churn until the ice cream has thickened… it may start to “grow” out of the bowl. Turn off the machine and start scooping spoonfuls into your container… after each large spoonful add brickle and stir.

Then add some caramel … drizzling it over the ice cream… using a knife swirl it around a little… continue until all of the ice cream is out of the freezer bowl.

NOTE: It will take between 25-30 minutes for the ice cream to thicken (this is using the Cuisinart ICE-20 model)… if you are using a different brand or model… check your instruction booklet to be sure the timing is the same.

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Recipe: Chicken Portobello


This recipe for Chicken Portobello is something I came up with to mimic a dish I had at a restaurant… actually it combines a couple of different parts of several dishes I’ve had out.

This is one of my shortcut recipes.. it goes together quite fast and uses… here to comes… cream of mushroom soup… I think I just heard the blog snob faint… oh well.. she’ll get over it.

I promised to include some shortcut recipes of all types in my posts.. not everyone has the time to make everything from scratch.

TIPS

You could substitute crimini mushrooms.. but then again.. it wouldn’t be Portobello Chicken then.. would it? All joking aside.. I highly recommend using Portobello mushrooms.. they have a stronger smoky flavor.. and it really adds to this dish.

I used butter in this recipe.. you could substitute margarine but… and this isn’t usual for me.. I would recommend the butter… I know it adds a little more fat.. but the flavor is excellent in this…

If you want to cut fat in places.. use 99% fat free cream of mushroom soup… Campbell’s is the best…

I used whole milk.. it makes for a creamier sauce… but you can use fat free milk… you may have to add a teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken a bit …

The boneless skinless chicken breasts were quite thick.. I made one for each person… the thicker bigger chicken breasts are better in this recipe.

Serve this with mashed potatoes or noodles… yummmm!






Recipe: Portobello Chicken


All you need:

For the chicken:

4 thick boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Dash of salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pkg (8 oz.) Baby Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
4 slices Baby Swiss cheese

For the sauce:

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
2/3 of a soup can of whole milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon white pepper

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a wide bowl or plate, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, salt and pepper .

Run tap water over the chicken breasts one at a time… dredging them in the flour.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter with the olive oil over medium high heat.

Brown the chicken breasts on both sides until they are a light golden brown.

Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. When the butter is melted, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and place them over the chicken in the baking dish.

Bake the chicken for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, add the sauce ingredients to the skillet and using a wire whisk, stir until smooth and thick.

After the chicken has baked for 20 minutes… place a slice of Swiss cheese over each chicken breast (over any mushrooms that are on top of the chicken).

Return baking dish to the oven and bake until cheese melts.. about 5-7 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the sauce over the chicken.

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Recipe: Banana Bread French Toast Bake


This recipe for Banana Bread French Toast came about because of leftover banana bread that I just didn’t want to go to waste. To be totally truthful the banana bread came out a little dry… I used less bananas than I should and the baking soda was past its expiration.. and true to the warning on the box to replace it… it should have been replaced… but that’s for another post.

This recipe is the same as my other French Toast Casseroles or Bakes…. this recipe just uses Banana Bread. It turned out really well… we loved it… now to make it in the future I will have to double my banana bread recipe in the hopes of having any left so I can make this again.

TIPS

You really need a drier banana bread… so it should be about 3 days old… if your banana bread is fresh.. I would recommend you lightly toast the slices before cutting them into cubes.

When the dish came out of the oven I drizzled (okay.. a little more than a drizzle) caramel ice cream topping over the top… it really adds to the flavor of this dish.

This is awesome served with a dollop (or two) of Chantilly Cream on top of each serving.

This can be prepped the night before…. place a piece of foil over the top and press gently down to compact the bread a bit…. store in the refrigerator overnight…. then in the morning place it in a cold oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes … then gently remove the foil and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes…. or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I served this with Fresh Fruit salad, a Raspberry Peach Yogurt Sauce for the fruit and scrambled eggs.

This is an absolutely delicious brunch recipe… perfect for guests.







Recipe: Banana Bread French Toast Bake


All you need:

1 loaf banana bread (about 3 days old)
6 eggs
2 ½ cups milk
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Caramel ice cream topping
Chantilly Cream
Cooking oil spray (butter flavor preferred)

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking oil.



Cut the loaf into 1 inch thick slices then cut into cubes.

Place the cubes in the dish.



In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.


Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes…. You may have to pour about ¾ of the mixture first.. and allow it to be absorbed into the bread before pouring the rest of the egg mixture (about 5-10 minutes). press the bread cubes down gently to make sure they get covered with the egg mixture.


If baking immediately… allow casserole to set for about 20 minutes before baking. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

If baking the next morning… cover with foil and gently press the foil down…. refrigerate. Follow instructions for baking in the Tips above.



Immediately after taking it out of the oven… drizzle caramel topping over the top.

Serve immediately with Chantilly Cream.

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Recipe: Raspberry Peach Yogurt Dip or Sauce




This recipe for Raspberry Peach Yogurt Dip or Sauce is so easy and good.. you won’t believe it’s yogurt. I have always loved yogurt… even in the days when all that was available were those fruit on the bottom yogurts … and those yogurts were tangy not sweet dessert-like that we have today… oh I know those others still exist… for those die-hard people that prefer the tang to the sweet.. and truth be told.. I am one of them… sometimes.

I have more or less come over to the sweet side… I must say I am absolutely addicted to all those fabulous Yoplait flavors… if you haven’t tried them.. you really need to.. they are amazing.

So with all that said… I figured Yoplait makes a great base for sauces for fruit…. I have already posted one called “Yogurt Sauce for Fruit Salad” … such an original name… geesh.. but it was one of the first I ever posted and is a recipe I’ve made for years… that one is simply French Vanilla Yogurt with honey… sounds simple.. it is… and delicious too.

I started experimenting … pairing yogurt with other things… and decided to use the Raspberry Yogurt with a little peach puree… and drum roll please…. cream cheese… it turned out to be a fantastic combination.

TIPS

I used regular cream cheese… you can use the lower fat or fat free kind.. but the flavor won’t be as smooth…

The picture doesn’t do it justice… it had a slight pink look.. which was really pretty.. the picture makes it look white.. it’s not.

I chopped some peach bits into the sauce for texture… you can do that or leave it out.

This makes an awesome fruit dip… just don’t add the peach juice into it and it will have more of a dip consistency.

I used Del Monte Fruit Naturals… they’re small cups of fresh fruit.. you find it in the produce section of the grocery store… I like them because they have a longer expiration than fresh fruit off the shelves and they’re always good… even when fresh produce is not in season..



This was quick and easy in my mini chopper… if you don’t have one.. a blender will work as well.





I used what I needed from the fruit cup and put the rest into my fruit salad… it worked perfectly!

This is so quick and easy.. and so tasty!






Recipe: Raspberry Peach Yogurt Dip or Sauce

All you need:

1 container (6 oz.) Yoplait Raspberry Non-Fat Yogurt
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese, softened
1 container (7 oz.) Del Monte Fruit Naturals Peaches

All you need to do:

Puree 2 tablespoons of the peaches in a mini chopper.

Cut the cream cheese into chunks and add them into the mini chopper, add the yogurt and pulse until smooth, scraping the sides periodically.

If you want a dip… then scoop it out and enjoy!

If you want a yogurt sauce… adding a little at a time … add most of the juice from the peach container and pulse until you have the right consistency…

Add the left over peaches and juice to your fruit salad and serve with the sauce.

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How to Soften Cream Cheese Quickly


This quick tip comes from the folks at Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. I hope you find it helpful.






To quickly soften cream cheese all you need to do:

Completely unwrap the cream cheese and remove the wrapper.

Place the cream cheese on a microwaveable plate and microwave for 10 seconds on HIGH or until softened.

Add 15 seconds for each additional 8 ounce brick of cream cheese.

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Recipe: Tropical Rum Bundt Cake


This recipe for Tropical Rum Bundt Cake started out as an experiment in making a Pina Colada Cake. The only reason I didn’t name it a Pina Colada Cake is that in my opinion the coconut flavor was very subtle and light. I love Pina Coladas…. and you definitely taste coconut and pineapple in Pina Coladas… and well… rum too.


This was an easy cake to make… and used… I know … heaven forbid… a cake mix.. but it really turned out well.. a moist and tasty Bundt cake. .. so don’t tell anyone that it was made using a cake mix.




TIPS

Make sure you use a cake mix that doesn’t already have pudding in the mix… I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic White Cake.

My Bundt pan is very old… it’s not quite as deep as newer ones and the cake itself is bigger around… so baking times will vary depending on the size and shape of your pan…. Make sure you test your cake after the shortest baking time by inserting a tooth pick in the middle.. if it comes out clean it’s done… but make sure it’s clean and check a couple of places. If it’s not.. add 5 minutes and check again continue until done.


This is an adult cake because of the rum… you can leave it off… but the cake will not seem tropical.. good .. just not tropical… you can substitute a coconut icing to add more flavor.

For instructions on how to toast coconut.. click here.

I stuck the cake in places all the way around the top… then took a teaspoon and carefully spooned a little rum over the cake… I did not use a lot… use as much as you personally like…

This would be dynamite with a dollop of coconut ice cream or gelato.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful cake… a perfect Bundt cake to bring to a summer adult get-together.






Recipe: Tropical Rum Bundt Cake

All you need:

1 (18.5 oz) Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic White Cake mix
1 Jell-O instant coconut cream pudding mix (4 serving size)
2/3 cup Dole pineapple juice
2/3 cup Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large eggs
Smuckers pineapple Ice Cream Topping
¼ cup toasted coconut flakes
Myers Dark Rum

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Generously grease and flour a Bundt pan.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, pudding mix, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and oil.

Beat slowly until well blended.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Beat at high speed for 2 minutes.

Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes or until a pick comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.

Cool on in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes.

Remove from the pan and cool completely.

Stick the top of the cake frequently with a tooth pick.

Carefully spoon teaspoons of rum over the cake… I used about ¼ cup all together.

Then spoon pineapple ice cream topping over the top and allow to run down sides periodically.

Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

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