Sunday, December 18

MAKE IT: Traditional Fudge

Fudge, do I need to say anything else? Who doesn't like fudge? I don't like chocolate and I love fudge! it makes a great holiday gift, is a great way to show off some kitchen skills, and really impresses people! It also sells amazing at bake sales and fundraisers.

This is a standard chocolate fudge recipe, I like to top it with crushed nuts, candy, or craisins.

This will make 1 1/2 pounds of fudge
Full time: 2 1/2 hours (includes set time in refrigerator)
You will need:

5 oz can evaporated milk
12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Let us begin:

In a large pot combine sugar, vanilla, and evaporated milk. Stir until sugar dissolves into milk

Drop in butter and turn on heat, over medium high heat

Bring to a boil, stirring often

Once boiling, (set a timer for this) boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly

Once timer goes off, drop in marshmallows and chocolate chips. Turn off heat

Stir thourally until all melts, this takes a little elbow work but, don't stop stirring until everything melts down

Pour into a dissplosible 8 x 8 pan

Sit in refridgerator and cool down/harded for 2 hours

Cut into pieces roughly 1" in size, serve and enjoy!

For extra fun try some of these classics:

Peanut butter fugde:
Replace chocolate chips with peanut butter baking chips
Cut vanilla amount inhalf

Peppermint fudge:
Replace chocolate chips with mint baking chips
Replace vanilla with peppermint extract
Spinkle 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies onto top and gently push down into surface before cooling

White chocolate raspberry fudge:
Replace chocolate chips with white chocolate baking chips
Replace vailla with raspberry extract
Incorporate 1/2 cup dried raspberries into mix

Cookie Fudge:
Replace chocolate chips with white chocolate baking chips
Incorporate 1 cup crushed sandwich cookies into mix
Sprinkle 1/2 cup crushed sandwich cookies onto top and gently tap into surface before cooling

Monday, December 12

BAKE IT: Twinkies

Ah, the "Twinkies"-this all American sugar filled confection is a treat of legendary proportion. Sparking great debates from shelf life to sugar content and let's not forget the filling flavor argument. Which by the way was banana in the beginning not vanilla. Trouble with this dessert is the dessert itself, can we say calories? Sugar? Fat? Any of which can scare you away. But if you go homemade, you can cut all three in half and get rid of those scary shelf-life stabilizing ingredients. Here is to eating your cake and enjoying it too!

Makes 12 Twinkies
Full time 1 1/2 hours (includes cooling time)

The needs-

For Cake:
1 box pound cake mix, trust me use a mix it works better
4 egg whites
2/3 cup water

For Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, slightly melted
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, slightly melted
1 tsp vanilla extract (or banana for a way back authentic flavor)

The know-

Preheat oven to 350'.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until they are nice and stiff.

Beat in cake mix and water.

Heavily grease you cake pan, if you do not have a fancy cake pan for this shape. You can easily make the same shape. By wrapping a large spice bottles half way with aluminum foil and grease it well, repeat this to create a total of 12 cake cups.

Evenly divide batter into the cake pan or cake cups.

Bake in oven for 20-24 minutes or until nice and golden.

Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes, until you can easily handle the pan.

Then tap cakes out carefully onto a cutting board to finish cooling.

You need to allow these to fully cool for a good 20 minutes or until completely cool. This next part I do because I like the perfect shape, but it is not 100% needed.

Using a really sharp knife to cut the bottom puffed dome bit off and to create a flat surface. Just work gently to not break the cake.

Lastly the best part, making the filling. Heavily mix the shortening and butter together until smooth.

Add in the powder sugar and vanilla stirring heavily until it is smooth and even in texture.

Place filling into a pastry bag or a zip bag and snip the tip off.

Gently insert tip roughly 1/2" from end of cake and squeeze to fill the cake. Repeat this on the other end and then repeat this right in between the two. This will create that famous 3 filling spot on the bottom of the cake and ensure an even distribution of filling.

You have now created the famous classic cake in your own kitchen, Cheers!

Saturday, December 3

Twice Baked Loaded Potatoes

Twice baked to perfection. These potatoes will warm you up on any night!

Serves 6
Full time 1 1/2 hours

The needs-

6 large white potatoes
1 tbsp vegetable shortening
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper

For filling-

1/4 cup bacon, crumbles or chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sour cream 
2 tbsp fresh chopped chives
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

For topping-

6 slices Munster cheese

The know-

Preheat oven to 350'.

Coat potatoes with vegetable shortening and season with salt & pepper. Pierce a few times with a fork.

Bake in oven for 45 minutes.

Once baked, cut top third of potato off and scoop inside of potato into a bowl.

Combine potato tops, insides, and butter in a bowl.

Return hollowed potatoes to baking dish.

Mash potatoes with butter into a smooth, but slightly chunky texture.

Add in chives, bacon, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Mash to combine.

Stuff filling into potato skins and top with cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and turns lightly golden.

Remove from oven and let rest 2-3 minutes prior to serving.


Sunday, November 27

California Cauliflower Rice

A great substitute for rice, this light and fresh cauliflower dish will have you going back for seconds.

The needs-

1 large head cauliflower
1 large lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

The know-

Choose cauliflower into fine rice size pieces.

Combine olive oil and cauliflower in sauté pan over medium high heat.

Sauté 5-8 minutes until cauliflower begins to soften.

Add in salt, pepper, and juice from half of the lemon.

Sauté 8-10 minutes until cauliflower has full softened and has become bright white.

Add in parsley and juice from second half of lemon.

Cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately, cheers!

Friday, November 18

Slow Cooker Cranberry Turkey

Thanksgiving in a pot so I like to call it. All those fabulous roasted turkey flavors without the labor of roasting. Making this a perfect set it and forget it dish for hot nights you do not want to cook!

Full time 7-8 hours
Serves 4-6

The needs-

2-3 lb. boneless turkey breast
15 oz cranberry sauce (1 can)
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dried minced onion
2 tbsp chicken bouillon powder (or equivalent cubes crushed) 
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

The know-

In a medium bowl mash together cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, and orange juice.

Add in dried onions, bouillon, and all herbs/spices, mash until well combined.

Place turkey breast in crockpot and rub cranberry mixture lovingly across surface.

Cook 7 hours or until turkey reaches 165' on a meat thermometer. 

Remove turkey carefully and serve with pot juices drizzled across.


Wednesday, November 9

Pepperjack Cheese Fries with Bacon

Cheese smoothered fries is one of my favorite guilty pleasure dishes. Made easily with a simple cheese sauce, these are a great treat to eat. You can easily make these with either homemade fries or store bought frozen fries. Once you see how easy this is, you may just be making them all the time with all different chesses!

Full time 20 minutes (does not include cooking time for fries)
Serves 4

The needs-

4 servings french fries, I am using homemade English stlye (for this recipe: )

For cheese sauce:
4 oz cheese, diced into 1/4" cubes
1 cup light cream (substitute milk by reducing it to 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper

For serving:
1/4 cup fresh chopped bacon

The know-

In a small sauce pot melt butter over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble.

Remove from heat and whisk in flour, whisking to create a nice even golden color in the flour.

Return to heat and whisk in cream, whisking vigerously until flour has dissolved and no lumps can be seen.

Whisk in salt and pepper, allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until edges begin to bubbles, stirring gently.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add in cheese. Whisk gently to heat cheese melt into pot. Once melted allow sauce to thicken over heat 2-3 minutes.

Arrange fries on a serving platter and pour cheese sauce lovingly over them.

Top with bacon and serve immedietly.


Tuesday, November 1

BAKE IT: Almond Filled Croissants

Filled croissants are an easy and simple pastry. Perfect for brunches, gatherings, or fun family breakfasts. This recipe can easily be adapted for any filled croissant.

Makes 12 croissants
Full time 45 minutes (includes mold cooling time) 

The needs-

1 package or 2 sheets puff pastry
1 can almond pastry paste/filling (in baking isle)
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp sugar

The know-

Preheat your oven to 400'.

On a cutting board lay out one sheet of puff pastry. You will notice some fold marks when you lay it out.

Use these marks as a guide line to easily cut dough into three strips.

Cut across center of sheet to create six even pieces.

Spread 1 1/2 tsp of almond paste, approximately 1" down from the top.

Pull edge of pastry up and over the melts, you may need to stretch a bit, that is okay. Gently press down to ensure the pastry stays sealed.

Spread another 1 1/2 tsp right on the seam.

Fold remaining edge over and gently press to seal.

Place pastries seam side down on baking tray.

Liberally brush with melted butter and sprinkle over sugar.

Repeat with remain ingredients. 

Bake in oven 18-24 minutes or until a nice golden color forms.

Allow to cool on tray for 15 minutes before serving, Cheers!