"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Salted Caramel Pecan Bars

Something fun, quick, easy, and tasty for a quick dessert.

Salted Caramel Pecan Bars
Makes 4 dozen. From Southern Living

1 cup chopped pecans
12 Whole graham crackers
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons Whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a single later in a shallow pan 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Stirring halfway through.

Line a 15 x 10-inch jellyroll pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper; lightly grease.  Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in prepared pan, slightly overlapping edges.

Combine sugar, butter, and cream in a medium-size heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.  and stir in vanilla and pecans. Pour butter mixture over crackers, spreading to coat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 11 minutes or until lightly brown and bubbly.

Immediately sprinkle with salt, and slide foil/paper from pan onto a wire rack.  Cool completely (about 30 minutes). With a knife, cut bars.

**Chocolate-Peacan-Carmamel variation: Prepare recipe as directed until removal from oven. Once removed from oven, top warm bars with 1 cup dark chocolate morsels. Let stand 3 minutes, spread chocolate over bars, then sprinkle with salt and proceed with recipe as directed. Chill 20 minutes before serving.

** Our favorite (Tried this recipe out during Christmas 2014 season.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cinnamon Churro Chex Mix Treat

I saw these on pintrest and they sparked my interest as a fun treat. At my house Muddy Buddies or AKA Puppy Chow or many other names are beloved and evil all at the same time.  My favorite is still the original Muddy Buddy flavors, but it didn't take long for these little munchies to disappear either.  

Cinnamon Churro Chex Mix 

9 cups rice Chex cereal
3 cups cinnamon chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pour Chex cereal into a bowl. Set aside. Combine sugars and cinnamon in another small bowl. Set aside.

In a microwavable bowl, melt the cinnamon chips. Heat for 1 minute then stir. Heat for an additional 30 seconds. Stir. Continue with additional 30 seconds until completely melted. Pour melted cinnamon chips over the cereal. Stir until cereal is well coated.

Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Toss to coat. Pour out the cereal onto a cookie sheet. Continue to sprinkle and toss the cereal with the rest of the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Pan-Seared Five-Spice Tilapia with Hot Orange-Ginger Sauce

Recently I snatched a few free Cuisine at Home magazines from the Library.  I found a Tilapia recipe I wanted to try, weeks went by and I kept looking at it thinking I am going to make a menu this week, then the week would pass. Finally, I did it. It was scrumptious! A new 5 Star recipe at my home to add to the "fish" file.  Jack gave it 5 stars the kids agreed with lots of "yummy" and "MMMmmm's".

Mom! I think you are going to love this!

Pan-Seared Five-Spice Tilapia with Hot Orange-Ginger Sauce
Source: Cuisine at Home Issue no. 73 February 2009, p 35
Yields 4 servings       Total time 15 minutes

Five-Spice Tilapia

1/2 tsp. Chinese Five-Spice Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil, divided
1 lb. Tilapia Fillets (4-6)
2 Tbsp. minced Scallions (I had to omit because I didn't have them on hand)

Mix five-spice powder, salt, cayenne pepper with 2 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl.
Pat fillets dry, brush both sides with spice mixture. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high hear until skillet is lightly smoking.  Add fillets; sauce 3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with scallions. Serve with Hot Orange-Ginger Sauce.

Per serving 201 cal; 13g total fat (2g sat) 57 mg chol; 1 g carb; 205 mg sodium; 0g fiber, 23 g protien

Hot Orange-Ginger Sauce
-Vary the amount of red pepper flakes to adjust the heat of the sauce to your liking.
Makes 1/3 cup ; Total time 10 minutes

1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (I used mixed from concentrate)
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Whisk marmalade, orange juice, vinegar, ginger root, and pepper flakes together in a small bowl.

Saute garlic in sauce pan with oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add marmalade mixture and simmer, stirring continuously, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt

Mandarin Spinach Salad
This colorful Asian salad can be garnished with store-bought chow mien noodles or homemade fried wonton strips. (This salad dressing is light and fresh! A good Spring/Summer dressing to mix things up.)

Makes 8 cups (4 servings) Total time 25 minutes

For the Vinaigrette
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. rive vinegar
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. minded fresh ginger root
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
Pinch of salt

Whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, ginger root, dijon, sesame oil, and salt for the vinaigrette in a small bowl.

For the Salad
8 cups baby spinach
1 can mandarin orange segments drained (11 oz.)
1/4 cucumber, seeded, sliced thinly into half moons
1/2 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced almonds toasted
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/2 cup chow mein noodles or Fried wonton strips (optional)

Combine spinach, oranges, cucumbers, mushrooms, almonds, and scallions in large bowl. Toss with vinaigrette just before serving. Garnish with noodles