Sunday, August 19, 2012

Brunch Berry Pizza (Fruit Pizza)

My sister-in-law made this fruit pizza for dessert for one of the meals at the Stewart family reunion. I loved it so much that I requested she make it again for my Birthday when I found out she was going to be here. She offered several times to make me a cake, but I knew what I wanted. It turned out even more delicious the second time because I had all of the proper kitchen appliances that she needed. Oh were my expectations exceeded with this one. Technically I haven't made it myself, but it was made in my kitchen with my supplies so I am going to consider that a close enough success and am going to take liberty to share it with you this day. Anna wanted to add that this is not a recipe that you can take lightly. Just meaning that you can't throw it together last minute, you will need some time and preparation to put it together the way it is meant to be put together. I will add, IT'S WORTH IT!!! Best fruit pizza HANDS DOWN I have ever eaten!

Brunch Berry Pizza

1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups frozen mixed berries, thawed (Anna used fresh berries)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
A variety of your favorite fresh fruit sliced

1. In a bowl, combine flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Press into an ungreased 12 in pizza pan (or any flat pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until crust is set and edges are lightly browned.
2. Beat cream cheese, egg and sugar until smooth. Spread over crust. Bake 8-10 minutes longer or until set. Cool to room temperature.
3. Topping: process berries and sugar in a blender or food processor until blended. Ina saucepan, combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Add berry mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Set saucepan in ice water 15 minutes stirring several times.
4. Spread berry mixture over the cream cheese layer. Arrange fresh fruit on top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Fried Rice

Oh my goodness!... I made this tonight and had to blog about it immediately. It was soooo good. The truth is I have made fried rice and sweet and sour chicken dozens of times but the truth is I don't have a recipe for either. So it always turns out a little different each time, and it was never anything I had enough confidence in to share. I found this recipe for fried rice on pinterest and as I looked at it, it was really close to what I usually do when I make fried rice. The biggest difference and the ingredient that made all the difference was sesame oil that it was all fried in. Oh it was so good and so easy to make.
The Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe was included with the fried rice, and I figured I may as well make it to go along with the rice. It was so good and the sauce was so much more simple than the sweet and sour sauce that I usually mix up, I loved it. The chicken was easy to cook as well, but after you do the initial browning it takes an hour to bake, which was my only to complaint. But it really needs to bake that long and was perfection.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

chicken coating:
3-4 boneless chicken breasts (I used the same recipe with two large breasts and it was perfect)
salt + pepper
3/4 cup corn starch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

sweet and sour sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbs ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, turned out great)
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

       Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs. Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dixh. Mix all of your sauce ingredients in a bowl and pour even over the chicken. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken ever 15 minutes. When you serve, make sure and smother chicken with extra sauce. It is so good. and thickens up just perfectly when cooled just a little.

Fried Rice

3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best! I keep left over white rice in the freezer for just such an occasion)
3 Tbs sesame oil (do not replace this ingredient, it is important)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup soy sauce

      On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the veggies, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower heat to medium low and push mixture of to one side, then pour eggs on the other side of the skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated. (You could add ham or any other veggies to this rice and it would be delicious as well).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Creamy Fresh Fruit

Again sorry for the lack of picture. I will add one the next time I make it. The title of this dessert is deceiving because while it is creamy, it does not actually contain fresh fruit. It is a cream pie that is drizzled with canned pie filling. I suppose you could top with fresh fruit and it would be delicious but that's not what the recipe calls for.
This is about the most simple and delicious pie you could ever think to make. It is best the second day, but it is a crowd pleaser either way. We got this recipe from my sister-in-law Mandy and her days working at Pasta Factory. It is a dessert they still serve there today. But you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home or take it to your neighbors house when you are invited over for dinner, because it is so easy to make if you have the ingredients you can throw it together as quick as it can can be consumed.

Creamy Fresh Fruit Pie

8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. heavy whipping cream
9 inch Oreo cookie crust

1. In a small bowl cream together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.
2. Whip the whipping cream until stands up in the middle. Fold in the cream cheese mixture with whipped cream until completely mixed.
3. Pour and spread into Oreo cookie crust.
4. Let Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours (or a day)
5. Serve in slices topped with your favorite canned fruit pie filling. (I like tart berries best, raspberry or black berry pie filling)

Crunchy Chicken Casserole

I apologize in advance for the lack of picture on this post, but it is one that we make a lot. I have never noticed but James actually requests it a lot too, and he just mentioned, this last week after eating it, that it is one of his favorite meals that I make. I had no idea. I do know that it is one of my mom's favorites because it is in her recipe book three different times with slight variations and different names, but essentially all the same casserole. Plus she did make it for us as children quite frequently as well. I have added my own little touches but for the most part this is a recipe I grew up with and it is still a crowd pleaser.

Crunchy Chicken Casserole

2 c cooked chicken, diced
1/2-3/4 c mayo
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 c slivered almonds
2 c diced celery
1-2 Tbs onion, thinly diced
1 can sliced water chestnuts (I dice them even smaller for this recipe so they go further)

Grated Cheese
Crushed ritz crackers
1 Tbs butter, melted
dash garlic salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Mix mayo, cream of chicken soup, and lemon juice. Set aside.
Mix together all other casserole ingredients and then add sauce and mix well. Spread out in casserole dish.
Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Mix crackers, butter and garlic in zip lock bag and add on top of cheese.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and casserole is heated through.

*All of the ingredients above are really very subjective to your liking. Sometimes I like to add more chicken and sometimes I like more crunch, so I add more of the other ingredients. What ever you choose its a winning combination.

Product Post: And "Perfect" food

I don't know what addictive substance Guerrero has added to this "improved formula" of tortillas but I can not stop eating them. Actually they were my favorite before, but I really wish I knew who was responsible for the improved formula because I would write them a letter and say thank you for kicking it up at least 7 notches. James can vouch for my addiction too, because I am sure we have never eaten so much Mexican food since I discovered them. Bean and cheese tortillas with Valentina sauce has always been a quick favorite of mine, but with this "new formula" Guerrero tortillas it is on my "perfect" food list. (I will reveal this list in a future post. It's not ready yet, but be for warned that there is a good deal of Mexican food on this list).  It is the recipe I share with you today, as ridiculous as it seems to share such a simple recipe, I can't express in words how much I love it. I must have some Mexican in me somewhere.

PS. In case you can't read the small yellow writing "formula mejorada" means "improved formula" and that is what I am talking about in this blog. 

Bean and Cheese Tortillas

Two large scoops of canned re-fried beans
Two spoonfuls of shredded cheddar cheese
1 Guerrero new formula tortilla
Valentina sauce to taste

1. Lay tortilla flat on microwavable plate.
2. Spread beans on middle of tortilla, sprinkle cheese on top of beans.
3. Microwave for 1 minute
4. Smother or sprinkle with Valentina sauce and fold tortilla flaps over top of beans. Enjoy!