cajun pork and peppers fajitas
crockpot TexMex chicken stew, rice
red snapper with bell pepper and tomato
corn and red pepper bisque, cheddar jalapeno biscuits
hoisin pork with rice noodles
green chili chicken tacos, black beans
apricot glazed chicken skewers, brown rice, broccoli

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jack Skellington Cookies

Jack Skellington Cookies
I have never decorated cookies in any sort of fancy way. A smear of buttercream and a dousing of sprinkles is about as far as I would go. Miss F saw this recipe in our fall issue of the Mickey Monitor (the Disney annual passholder newsletter) and she had to make them. I was very wary. C insisted he would draw the faces since I was so nervous about it. I originally bought black gel icing to decorate them, but that was a total fail. My Kroger didn't carry black food coloring, but our local Party City did (so does Amazon.) Royal icing was SO much easier to use than I expected. I used these nifty tools to pipe the eyes, nose and mouth.
Jack Skellington Sugar Cookies

2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
Black food coloring paste

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three parts. Once dough comes together, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter or an overturned cup, cut dough into circles about 3 inches in diameter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before icing.

Place egg whites in bowl of an electric mixer; whisk until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, until thick but still spreadable. Place 1/3 of icing in a separate bowl. Add black food coloring paste to reserved icing and stir until color is uniform. Decorate cooled cookies by covering with white icing and letting it dry (placing cookies in the refrigerator will speed up this process). Place black icing in a pastry bag or a plastic resealable bag and cut off a tiny bit of the corner to create a very small hole. Use black icing to draw eyes, nostrils and stitched mouth on each cookie.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
Years ago, I received a Taste Book of my friend's family recipes as a gift. I use several of the recipes in the book, but the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin is the one I go back to the most often. I swapped out the seasoning for my Maryland friendly Old Bay, but other than that, I am very true to the recipe. Miss F loves bacon in any format, so this tenderloin is always a hit. This would be great for a dinner party because you could prep it in advance and cook it while you socialize with your guests.  Be sure to broil it at the end to really crisp up the bacon, there is nothing worse than soggy bacon!
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 teaspoon Old Bay
1 clove garlic, sliced
5 slices of bacon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle the Old Bay all over the outside of the pork tenderloin, making sure to coat the meat evenly. Make slashes in the meat with a knife every inch or so, nestle a garlic slice in each notch. Wrap the tenderloin in the bacon and place in a baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Turn on the broiler and broil for 2 to 4 minutes to crisp the bacon. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Steakhouse Honey Wheat Bread

Steakhouse Honey Wheat Bread
I have a major bread obsession. And honey wheat bread is near the very top of my favorite bread list, probably only surpassed by sourdough, which I am still not brave enough to try at home.  These adorable mini bread boules were perfection.  The undertones of molasses, cocoa and honey made for a near perfect bread.  This recipe is adapted from Never Enough Thyme.  I definitely agree with her recommendation to use plenty of butter when enjoying this bread, the more butter the better.
Steakhouse Honey Wheat Bread

1 ¼ cups warm water (105-110 degrees)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
2 cups bread flour
1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons molasses
Yellow cornmeal for dusting

Combine the water in sugar in a two cup measure, sprinkle the yeast overtop and allow to sit for five minutes. Mix together the flours, cocoa and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture, butter, honey and molasses to the bowl. Stir to incorporate. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes on low. Remove the dough from the bowl, spray the bowl with cooking spray and return the dough to the bowl. Turn to coat all the dough in cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place for one hour, until doubled in size. Divide the dough into six equal portions. Form each portion into a round boule. Sprinkle cornmeal on the work surface. Moisten each boule very lightly and roll in the cornmeal. Place on a silpat lined baking sheet, cover and let rise for one hour more, until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the dough and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.
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