Archive for May, 2014

Ground Beef and Twice-Baked Potato Pie

This is a Pillsbury recipe.

  • 1 lb. ground beef (it said to use raw beef but we cooked our first)
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb. 8 oz. of Garlic Mashed potatoes (it said to use a frozen package but we made our own)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • (We didn’t use any of the toppings: 1/4 cup chopped tomato, 2 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled 2 medium green onions, chopped)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Mix together beef, onion, bread crumbs, sage, salt and egg until well combined. Press into bottom of an ungreased oven dish and cover with mashed potatoes and cheese.

3. Bake uncovered 50 min. Sprinkle with toppings as desired.

Ground Beef Potato Pie

 

Verdict: I didn’t enjoy this dish at all. I thought it was too bland and could have used something more added into the beef. It felt like a Shepherd’s Pie but without the vegetables we normally put into our Shepherd’s Pie. Though it could be because we changed the recipe a lot from the original. Maybe it we had mixed the beef like a hamburger and baked it first to ensure it was cooked and then topped it with the potatoes and cheese it may have had a different taste. I also regret not using the tomato and bacon topping.

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Triple Layer Squares

This is a recipe I was given by a friend. She had brought them into work and I swear I ate so many of them that I just had to have the recipe!

Base:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk (we found the base kind of dry so we ended up adding the white as well)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (because we used salted butter we didn’t use this)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Caramel layer:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Bittersweet chocolate layer:

  • 250g bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

White chocolate layer:

  • 125g white chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream

1. In a large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar. Add in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt (if using). Press into parchment paper lined 13×9 inch pan. Sprinkle with pecans, pressing lightly into dough.

2. Bake at 350F for 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centre is firm to the touch. Let cool.

3. Caramel layer: In a saucepan on medium heat, bring brown sugar, butter, condensed milk and corn syrup to boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 minutes, still stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes before pouring over base. Let cool.

4. Bittersweet chocolate layer: In a bowl over a pot of hot but not boiling water, melt chocolate and cream until smooth. Pour over caramel.

5. White chocolate layer: In a bowl over a pot of hot but not boiling water, melt white chocolate with whipping cream until smooth. Drop white chocolate mixture by spoonful over bittersweet chocolate layer. Using a toothpick (or butter knife) gently swirl until firm. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

Triple Layer Bar

Verdict: The real test of making any recipe given to you by a friend is if it comes out tasting like it did when your friend made them. I did not have that success. I am not sure why I didn’t like these as much, but I did have some issues with the way the base tasted. It was a little dense and a little bland for me (though my family liked it). I think I will try to make this recipe again, but will use a Graham cracker or cookie crumble crust.

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Banana Blondies

I think I found this recipe on another food blog.

  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt (didn’t use)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Butter an 8×8 pan.

2. Mix melted butter with brown sugar until smooth. Add in egg and then vanilla.

3. Add salt (if using) and flour. Mix in bananas and chocolate chips.

4. Pour into prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until set in the middle. Cool before cutting.

  • Banana Blondies

Verdict: These were so good. The blondie itself had a nice taste to them. With bananas, I sometimes find that they end up overpowering a dessert so that banana is the only taste you get, but it didn’t happen in this dish. The bananas added without overpowering the blondies.

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Chicken Vegetable Marinara

This is a Kraft recipe.

  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (for some reason I missed this when we made the dish and I am only realizing it now)
  • 3 large carrots, diagonally sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cup pasta sauce
  • 3 cups pasta, uncooked (we used penne and may have used a little more than 3 cups)
  • 2 zucchini (we just sliced ours, instead of quartering them and cutting them into small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup Kraft 4 cheese blend (we used cheddar and mozzarella)

1. Cook bacon in saucepan on medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Add chicken and Italian seasoning (if you don’t forget like I did) to bacon drippings in pan and cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and set aside with the bacon.

3. Add carrots and onion to saucepan and cook 2 minutes. Add broth, water and pasta sauce (the original recipe said to add pasta too and bring to boil before simmering for 10 minutes. We brought to boil first, then added pasta and cooked while still boiling. This may have been a mistake, as it seemed like all of our liquid got cooked off faster than we expected).

4. Stir in zucchini and chicken mixture and cook until vegetables are tender. (Instead of serving it with cheese on top we stirred the cheese in before serving.)

Vegetable Chicken Marinara

Verdict: This was tasty, but I wish there would have been more sauce to it. I think I would add more tomato sauce to it, or maybe even just exclude the water and cook the noodles on the side and then add them back to the sauce/broth, but that’s a personal preference.

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Coconut Cream Pie

This is a Martha Stewart recipe that we changed up a little and made for Mother’s Day (as it’s my mom’s favourite dessert).

Crust:

  • 30 chocolate wafers (we used Graham Crackers instead)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (didn’t use because we use salted butter)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

Filling

  • 1 3/4 cup of sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks (we used 2 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (we didn’t use)
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream (we didn’t make the whipped cream topping for the pie, so this was also unused)

1. Crust: Preheat oven to 325F. With a food processor, combine cookies and salt (if using). Process until fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and add butter, mixing until you get a sand like mixture. Press into the bottoms and sides of a 9 inch deep pie plate. Bake for 25 minutes (ours needed about 20 and that still may have been a little much as it was kind of dark brown around the edges). Let cool completely.

2. Increase heat to 350F. Spread 1/2 cup coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, tossing occasionally (ours needed only about 5 minutes).

3. In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and salt (if using). Cook over medium-high, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles around the edges (the recipe says 5 minutes, but ours took a couple of minutes longer to get a really nice thick mixture). Strain through fine-mesh sieve (as we didn’t have one we skipped this step) into large bowl and mix in the remaining untoasted coconut. Spread over pie crust.

4. Here is where we went a kind of off recipe, putting the toasted coconut over the filling and refrigerating for 2 hours. In the original recipe, you refrigerate first, whip the cream into whipped cream to top the pie and then top with toasted coconut.

Coconut Cream Pie

Verdict: The pie was a success. My mom liked it, which was the main goal for Mother’s Day dessert. I kind of regret not making the whipped topping and personally I wouldn’t have added the coconut to the crust, but it was a delicious pie!

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French Onion-Beef-Noodle Bake

I found this recipe online. I think from Betty Crocker.

  • 5 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 lbs. beef sirloin steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 cups onion thinly sliced (despite the name of the recipe, we definitely didn’t use this many. Probably only about 1 cup worth)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (my sister is not a fan of mushrooms, so we again only used about a cup worth)
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups seasoned croutons
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cook noodles as per package instructions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large 5 quart pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add beef, onions and mushrooms. Cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until beef is browned on all sides, onions are tender and mushrooms are browned.

3. (The original recipe says to lay the noodles out in an oven dish and then cover with beef mixture. We mixed them together in a bowl and set aside until we finished this step.) In the now empty pot, heat 2 1/2 cup beef broth until boiling. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup broth and the flour until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture into the boiling broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thickened. Stir in rosemary. Poor over beef mixture and stir until well blended (we added it to the bowl where we had the already mixed noodle and beef mixtures and mixed it in there, because it was easier. We then transferred everything into the oven dish).

4. Cover with croutons (we crushed up the croutons) and cheese. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until cheese is melted and it is bubbly around the edges.

French Onion Noodle Bake

Verdict: I think the beef ended up a little dry at the end of all of the cooking. I also thought that with the croutons, the cheese topping ended up a little more crunchy than I normally like.

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Ham Gratin

This is another recipe that I can’t remember where I found anymore.

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups of 35% cream
  • 2 or 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • A little butter
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 375g cooked ham
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 13×9 oven dish.

2. In a large saucepan, bring all of the ingredients to boil except the ham and the cheese. Stir regularly while cooking for 3 min. Remove from heat.

3. Place a third of the potato mixture on the bottom of the oven dish. Top with half the ham. Place another third of the potato mixture on that, topping with remaining ham, last third of the potato mixture and ending with the cheese.

4. Bake 30 min or until cheese is golden and potatoes are done.

Ham Gratin

Verdict: I really liked this recipe. I liked the taste of the potatoes; I had never thought to boil them in cream before. I sometimes find that nutmeg can overpower a dish, but it didn’t here. Delicious!

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