Friday, April 29, 2011

Rainbow Jello

I made the mistake of showing Ally a picture of something like this months ago and she stored it away in the back of her brain.  She's that way. 

When we were planning her birthday party, a Wizard of Oz one, she decided that she must have a rainbow cake and rainbow jello. 

This is the part when I kick myself for showing her in the first place.

It is time consuming to do this, but sooooooo cool that it's totally worth the effort. 

Rainbow Jello
- 6 oz packages (or two 3oz if you can't find the 6oz size) of 6 flavors of jello, in the colors desired
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- non stick cooking spray

Set aside a good two hours for this project.  And clear out of shelf in your freezer that will fit a 9x9 baking dish flat.  It has to be flat, like completely.  You will see even the slightest angle in this.

Using a 9x9 dish that ideally has squared corners, spray it on all surfaces with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

Make the purple jello with 1 cup of boiling water.  (Do not follow the regular recipe or the jigglers recipe, this is different).  Add an ice cube to speed the setting process up a little.  Pour 2/3 of the purple jello in the baking dish and place in the freezer for about 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, add about a teaspoon of the sweetened condensed milk to remaining purple jello and stir thoroughly. 

Carefully remove pan from freezer, making sure the first layer has begun to set.  If it is still a liquid, put it back in for a few more minutes.  If it has firmed a bit, carefully spoon the purple jello mixed with the condensed milk over the top in a thin even layer.  Put back in the freezer while you start preparing the blue jello.

Repeat for all the colors. 

When you have all 12 layers complete, the 9x9 dish will be full just to the top.  Put it in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours (overnight is ideal).

To cut, you are best to remove the entire thing from the pan at once.  Run a sharp knife around the edge and carefully wiggle it out.  If you've sufficiently coated the pan with nonstick spray, this should be fairly easy.  Spray your knife with nonstick spray and cut into cubes. 

Share and smile.  :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ham & Broccoli Quiche

This is the second quiche I made for Easter brunch.  Quiches are so yummy and easy to make that I think we might be having them a little more often.

Ham & Broccoli Quiche
- 1 pie crust
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped into small pieces and blanched
- 1 cup diced ham
- 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
- 1 tbsp finely minced onion
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup half and half
- dash salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard

Place crust in pan.  Layer broccoli, ham, cheese and onion in pan.  Beat eggs with half and half, stirring in salt, pepper and mustard.  Pour over layers.  Bake in preheated 350 oven for one hour.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bacon Cheddar Quiche

This is one of the quiches I made for Easter, I will share the other one tomorrow.  :) 

With bacon and cheese, you know it's going to be good.

Bacon Cheddar Quiche
- pie crust
- 12 oz bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp finely minced onion
- 5 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup half and half
- dash pepper

Place pie crust in dish, roll and crimp edges.  Layer bacon, cheese and onions in dish.  Beat eggs with half and half, adding pepper.  Pour egg mixture over layers.  Bake in preheated 350 oven for one hour.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Deviled Eggs

This is a super simple recipe for delicious deviled eggs.  Don't get all excited, though.  There's nothing fancy in it.  No gourmet anything.  But there's also no chopping and mincing required. 

They all get eaten, every time.

Deviled Eggs
- 12 hard boiled eggs
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- dash pepper
- paprika

Peel deviled eggs, then slice in half lengthwise.  Scoop yolks into a bowl, arrange egg halves on a platter. 

Crumble yolks with a folk, then stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper.  Whip with a whisk for a minute or so until fully combined, light and fluffy.  Carefully spoon yolk mixture back into egg halves, distributing evenly.

Sprinkle eggs with paprika.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

After he pushed himself away from the brunch table yesterday and sighed audibly, I asked my husband if they were worth it, these rolls. 

They take a while.  A long while.  About three hours start to finish.

His answer was a resounding yes.

Be prepared to be patient with these.  He was right though, they were totally worth it.  The kids even got up early this morning to grab the leftovers.

Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 1/2 tsp yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- dash salt
- 4 1/4 cups flour

- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon

- 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 8oz. package), room temperature
- 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar

To make rolls:
Dissolve yeast in milk for about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, butter, sugar and salt and mix thoroughly.  Add flour a cup at a time.  Ideally, you can use a dough setting on a bread maker or a dough hook in a stand mixer for this process.  It takes a while and the dough gets hard to mix at the end.  Mix until dough forms into a ball.  Cover and let rise one hour.

Roll dough out into jelly roll pan.  If you don't have one, you want a large rectangle (16x21).  Spread softened butter on entire surface of dough.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then sprinkle mixture evenly over buttered dough.

Tightly roll dough lengthwise, sealing the end by pinching the dough together.  Cut into 12 equal width rolls.  Place in greased 9x13 baking dish.  Cover with a towel and let rise an hour.  Take butter and cream cheese for frosting out to bring to room temperature.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. 

To make frosting:
While rolls are baking, beat butter and cream cheese together, then add vanilla.  Add powdered sugar half a cup at a time.  Frost rolls after they have cooled a bit, but are still warm.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Strawberry Mimosas

I somehow managed to forget to take a picture of these, maybe because I was too busy drinking them today.  ;)

I personally do not love champagne.  I drink it for toasts, the required sip is plenty.  If you put a strawberry in it, I can generally finish a glass, though.

The only acceptable form for champagne in my opinion that involves actual drinking is as a mimosa.  Brunches are a perfectly legitimate place for mimosas, and I can totally get behind drinking in the morning. 

Since I love mimosas in general, I figured why not add a ripe strawberry too?  Just that much more awesome. 


Strawberry Mimosas
- champagne
- orange juice
- ripe, hulled strawberries

Drop a strawberry, slightly crushed into champagne flute. Slowly fill the glass about 1/2 - 2/3 of the way full with champagne.  This part takes patience, you have to wait for the bubbles to dissipate.  Fill the glass the rest of the way with orange juice. 

The more refills you need, the softer the strawberry gets and the more alcohol it absorbs.

Happy brunching!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bunny Cakes

This is an easy cake project, perfect for this time of year.  I baked the cakes the night before so they were completely cooled and ready to decorate.

Total decoration time is about an hour, start to finish.

Bunny Cakes
- 1 box cake mix
- 2 cans white frosting
- large bag of sweetened flake coconut
- food coloring
- large marshmallows
- toothpicks
- candy for decoration (I used chocolate chips, Junior Mints and Airhead extremes)

Bake the cakes according to box instructions, using 8 or 9 inch round pans.  Cool completely.

Remove the cakes from the pans carefully and cut each round into two half-circles.  Stack two half-circles next to each other, gluing them together with frosting.  Frost the cakes.

In large plastic bags, place half the coconut in each with a few drops of desired food coloring.  Shake bag until evenly mixed.  Spread coconut carefully over the frosting before it sets, covering the entire cake.

Using construction paper (that ideally matches the color of the coconut), cut the ears.  I cut the paper in half lengthwise, then curved one side.  I trimmed the point that would be inserted into the cake a little, and notched it with a butter knife.  Fold the bottom of the ear in half, then push paper ear into cake.

Put a little of the frosting into a decorating bottle (if you don't have one, use a small plastic bag and cut off just the tip.  Pipe frosting for eyes, place candy over it and hold a few seconds until it stays.  To make the whiskers, I cut the airhead extremes with a pizza cutter to just get the color I wanted.  Glue those on with frosting too.  I made the nose out of a chocolate chip.  On the back, a large marshmallow stuck on with a toothpick is the tail. 

The girls were super excited to help!

Happy Spring!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Asparagus is one of the staples of Easter meals, and this is a slightly different way to serve it.  There are a few different ways to prepare it, I will include them both.  Either way is delicious!

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
- Bunch of fresh asparagus, trimmed
- 8 oz. prosciutto
- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

To Bake:
Spread cream cheese on prosciutto slices, and wrap a few spears of asparagus in each.  Lay on a single layer in a baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.  Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes. 

To Grill:
Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for a minute or two, remove and drain.  Spread cream cheese on prosciutto and wrap a few spears in each.  Grill for 5-10 minutes, until asparagus is tender.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ginger's Meaty Beachballs

Forgive the title of this one.  This is a meatball recipe, originated out of necessity while she was vacationing at a beach house, trying to use what was in the kitchen already rather than going to the store.  The name just...well...evolved.

This is her recipe, with a few tweaks since I didn't have everything she called for.  The kids LOVED it!

Ginger's Meaty Beachballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup red onions (I used yellow)
- 1/4 Good Seasons Italian Dressing, prepared (I had some sort of red wine vinaigrette)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 jar marinara sauce
- 1 small can tomato sauce (I didn't have this on hand, used a can of condensed tomato soup, undiluted)

Chop onions very finely (I ran them through a food processor).  Combine ground beef, onions, dressing, egg, crackers, salt and pepper thoroughly.  Shape into 1 inch balls.

Heat oil in skillet and brown meatballs on all sides, don't cook completely.  Place balls in baking dish in one layer, cover with marinara and tomato sauce.

Bake at 250 for 2 hours.  We ate the meatballs with spaghetti.

You can find Ginger's entire blog, along with the original recipe, here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Homemade Croutons

This is one of those things I should have learned to make a long time ago.

Quick and easy, just keep a close eye on them so they don't burn.

These are great for salads obviously, but also good in soups.

Homemade Croutons
- stale crusty bread, cut into cubes
- olive oil
- salt and pepper

Toss bread with oil and salt and pepper (can also substitute ranch flavoring or garlic salt depending on the taste you are aiming for).

Spread in one layer on cookie sheet and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or so. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teriyaki Sauce & Shrimp Stir Fry

This one's a two parter, and I totally forgot to take pictures.  My bad.

Up first, homemade teriyaki sauce.  I made this tonight because I didn't have any in the house, which is unusual.  Teriyaki is one of my staples usually.  I'm thinking now I might just make it myself.

Teriyaki Sauce
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- dash cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp corn starch

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, then add to a saucepan.  Carefully heat to just boiling, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and cool.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.   I used about half the teriyaki in the recipe below, saved the rest in the fridge for later.

Shrimp Stir Fry
- 1 pound deveined shelled shrimp
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- about 1/2 cup prepared teriyaki sauce
- 4 cups stir fry vegetables
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Place raw shrimp in a shallow bowl, then sprinkle garlic, cayenne, ginger and sesame seeds over.  Mix thoroughly and let sit for 30 minutes in the fridge.  When ready, heat oil in wok and cook vegetables on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. 

Add teriyaki and combine thoroughly.  Last, stir in shrimp and all seasonings, cook until shrimp are done.

Serve over rice.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lemon Garlic Marinade

Here is a quick and easy marinade that you can use for chicken, shrimp or fish.  It tastes best if you grill the meat after marinating it. 

Lemon Garlic Marinade
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp pepper

Combine all marinade ingredients in bowl.  Place meat in shallow baking dish or plastic bag, pour marinade over meat.  Let sit in the fridge at least 2 hours, turning meat to coat all sides evenly. 

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