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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mango Salsa

Fresno peppers are similar in size to jalapeno peppers. They add a bit of heat to this salsa. Use this salsa in the traditional way or as a topping for grilled fish or chicken.

  1. 2 mangoes, diced (about 2 cups)
  2. 1/2 small red onion, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  3. 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  4. 3 red Fresno peppers, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  5. Zest and juice of 1 lime
  6. 1 tablespoon olive oil

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly


Chicken, Bacon And Smoked Gouda Flatbread

Chicken, Bacon & Smoked Gouda Flatbread Recipe - great way to use up leftover chicken. We sliced up the leftover chicken, added some bacon, mushrooms, smoked gouda and a drizzle of honey. AMAZING and super quick!

We sliced up the leftover chicken, added some bacon, mushrooms, smoked gouda and a drizzle of honey. The results were amazing. Seriously delicious. We both devoured these flatbreads. The chicken was tasty and we loved the smokiness from the gouda. The honey gives the flatbread a surprising hint of sweetness

  • 1 (6oz) cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded smoked gouda
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 package (2-count) Naan flatbread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place flatbreads on baking sheet. Slice chicken and place on top of flatbreads. Top with mushrooms and bacon. Sprinkle smoked gouda on top and drizzle with honey.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is crispy.


Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Salsa

Sweet, savory and crunchy salsa accompanies grilled pork or chicken rather nicely. Try it with tortilla chips as a refreshing alternative to a tomato salsa.

  • 3 cups finely diced seedless watermelon, (about 2 1/4 pounds with the rind) (see Tip)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (see Ingredient note)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion, (about 1/2 small)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1.  Place watermelon, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and onion in a medium bowl; stir well to combine. Season with salt. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

1. Tip: Melon selection & storage: Look for symmetrical unblemished melons, without flat sides, that have a creamy yellow spot on the bottom indicating ripeness. At 92% water, this fruit should feel heavy when you heft it. Precut melon flesh should be dense, firm and appear moist. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or keep in a cool, dark spot. Cover the cut surface of melon with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
2. Ingredient Note: The seeds and surrounding membrane are the spiciest part of the chile pepper. To increase the heat of the salsa, use some or all of the seeds, depending on your preference, along with the flesh of the pepper.
3. MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.


Strawberry Shortcake

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes
Shortcake is a rich, salty biscuit or yellow cake usually topped with sliced fruit and whipped cream. The biscuit in this healthier version is made with whole-wheat pastry flour and low-sodium baking powder. It's topped with fresh strawberries and plain low-fat yogurt.


    For the shortcake:

  1. 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, sifted
  2. 1/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
  3. 2 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium baking powder
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. 1/4 cup trans-free margarine (chilled)
  6. 3/4 cup fat-free milk (chilled)
  7. For the topping:

  8. 6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  9. 3/4 cup (6 ounces) plain fat-free yogurt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, re-sift the flours, baking powder and sugar together. Using a fork, cut the chilled margarine into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the chilled milk and stir just until a moist dough forms.
Turn the dough onto a generously floured work surface and, with floured hands, knead gently 6 to 8 times until the dough is smooth and manageable. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick. Cut into 8 squares. Place the squares onto the prepared baking pan and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer the biscuits onto individual plates. Top each with 1 cup strawberries and 1 1/2 tablespoons yogurt. Serve immediately.


April Fool's Spaghetti And Meatballs Cake

April Fool's Spaghetti and Meatballs Cake

Looking for a baked dessert idea? Candy meatballs and vanilla frosting spaghetti give a sweet twist to the Italian favorite combo in this vanilla cake.

1          (18.25-oz.) pkg. golden vanilla cake mix with pudding
1 1/4    (18.25-oz.) pkg. golden vanilla cake mix with pudding 
1 1/4    cups water
1/3       cup oil
3          eggs
1          (16-oz.) can vanilla frosting (not whipped)
1/2      cup strawberry ice cream topping
2         or 3 (2.25-oz.) small (1-inch) chewy chocolate candies, unwrapped
2         tablespoons grated vanilla candy coating or almond bark (from 1-oz. cube) 
1        (18.25-oz.) pkg. golden vanilla cake mix with pudding
1 1/4  cups water
1/3     cup oil
3        eggs
1        (16-oz.) can vanilla frosting (not whipped)
1/2     cup strawberry ice cream topping
2        or 3 (2.25-oz.) small (1-inch) chewy chocolate candies, unwrapped
  • 2    tablespoons grated vanilla candy coating or almond bark (from 1-oz. cube) 
  •        cups water
  • 1/3      cup oil
    3         eggs
    1         (16-oz.) can vanilla frosting (not whipped)
    1/2     cup strawberry ice cream topping
    2        or 3 (2.25-oz.) small (1-inch) chewy chocolate candies, unwrapped
    2        tablespoons grated vanilla candy coating or almond bark (from 1-oz. cube)
    • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 1/2-quart ovenproof glass or metal bowl. Prepare cake mix batter as directed on package, using water, oil and eggs. Pour batter into greased and floured bowl.
    • Bake at 350°F. for 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in bowl on wire rack for 30 minutes. Run thin knife around edge of cake; invert cake onto serving plate. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.
    • Frost cooled cake with thin layer of frosting. Spoon remaining frosting into resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Cut small hole in bottom corner of bag. Squeeze bag to pipe frosting onto cake to resemble spaghetti. Stir strawberry topping to soften; spoon topping onto top of cake to resemble spaghetti sauce, allowing some to drip down sides.
    • Unwrap candies; microwave on HIGH for 10 to 15 seconds to soften. Break each candy into thirds; roll into "meatballs" and arrange on cake. Sprinkle grated candy coating over top of cake to resemble cheese.

    Grilled Lemon Garlic Halibut Steaks

    Grilled Lemon Garlic Halibut Steaks

    Stake out new weeknight dinner options with grilled fish that's on the table in 30 minutes. 

    1/4     cup lemon juice
    1        tablespoon vegetable oil
    1/4    teaspoon salt
    1/4    teaspoon pepper
    2       cloves garlic, finely chopped
    4       halibut or tuna steaks, about 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds)
    1/4    cup chopped fresh parsley
    1       tablespoon grated lemon peel
    • Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. In shallow glass or plastic dish or resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, the salt, pepper and garlic. Add fish; turn several times to coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag and refrigerate 10 minutes.
    • Remove fish from marinade; reserve marinade. Cover and grill fish 4 to 6 inches from medium heat 10 to 15 minutes, turning once and brushing with marinade, until fish flakes easily with fork. Discard any remaining marinade.
    • Sprinkle fish with parsley and lemon peel.

    Strawberry Tiramisu

    NEW Strawberry Tiramisu

    Whip up this easy no-bake tiramisu for a berry fun-filled summer dessert! 

    4        cups fresh strawberries, sliced
    6        small whole strawberries
    1        cup coconut rum (or rum of choice)
    1/4     cup granulated sugar
    8        ounces mascarpone cheese
    1/2     cup heavy whipping cream
    1/2     cup powdered sugar
    2        tablespoons KahlĂșa™
    1/2     cup black coffee
    30      ladyfinger cookies
    • In bowl combine the sliced strawberries, whole strawberries, rum and sugar. Toss well. Place in the fridge and allow to sit at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.
    • Grease an 8x8-inch square baking pan.
    • Add the mascarpone, heavy cream, powdered sugar and KahlĂșa™ to a bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip the mixture until stiff peaks form.
    • Lightly dip the tops of each ladyfinger into the coffee and place in the bottom of the prepared pan. Gently spread half of the mascarpone mixture onto the ladyfingers. Arrange half of the sliced strawberries over the mascarpone layer. Repeat the layer one more time, ending with a layer of strawberries. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until ready to serve. Reserve the remaining whole strawberries for serving.
    • Slice the tiramisu into 4-6 pieces and top each with a strawberry. Enjoy!

    Orange Sriracha Grilled Chicken

    Orange Sriracha Grilled Chicken Recipe - chicken marinated in bbq sauce, mustard, Sriracha, honey and orange juice. Sweet, smokey and a tad bit spicy. SO good! Tons of great flavor and super juicy. We doubled the recipe for leftovers.

    • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
    • 1/4 cup Sriracha
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    Whisk together BBQ sauce, Sriracha, honey, mustard and orange juice. Pour over chicken and refrigerate a few hours up to overnight.

    Remove chicken from marinade and grill for approximately 15 minutes, until done.


    Super Simple Peachy Barbecue Chicken

    Super Simple Peachy Barbecue Chicken

    • 2 1/2- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks, skinned (if desired)
    • 1 cup barbecue sauce
    • 1/3 cup apricot or peach preserves
    • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
    • Fresh peaches, cut into wedges (optional)

    1.  Place chicken in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. For sauce, in a small bowl, stir together barbecue sauce, preserves, and mustard. Pour over chicken.
    2.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours.
    3.  Transfer chicken to a serving dish; cover and keep warm. Transfer sauce to a medium saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until sauce is desired consistency. Serve chicken with sauce. If desired, garnish with fresh peaches.


    • For easy cleanup:

      Line your slow cooker with a disposable slow cooker liner. Add ingredients as directed in recipe. Once your chicken is finished cooking, spoon it out of your slow cooker. Once the food is out of your slow cooker liner, simply dispose of the liner. Note: Do not lift or transport the disposable liner with food inside.

    Chocolate Caramel Dump Cake

    Chocolate Caramel Dump Cake

    The most magical ingredients in all the land mixed together in one uber easy, uber tasty cake.

    1          small (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding
    1 1/2   cups cold milk
    1         box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ devil's food cake mix
    1 1/2   cups chopped caramels
               Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
    1         cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
              Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch pan and set aside.
    • In a large bowl, whisk together chocolate pudding and milk for one minute to combine.
    • Add cake mix ONLY and stir until thoroughly combined.
    • Spread batter evenly into bottom of prepared pan (batter will be thick). Sprinkle with chopped caramels. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste (remember: A little bit goes a long way).
    • Bake cake 30-40 minutes or until edges pull away from sides and a toothpick inserted in the cake portion comes out clean.
    • Remove cake from oven and let cool on a cooling rack.
    • Pour chocolate chips into a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is fully melted. Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate over cooled cake.
    • Serve cake with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

    Beef Stroganoff Pot Pie

    Beef Stroganoff Pot Pie

    Classic stroganoff gets a twist when prepared in a pastry shell with a crown of crisp pastry cutouts on top.

    1        box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
    1        lb extra-lean (at least 90%) ground beef
    1        cup chopped onions (2 medium)
    1        clove garlic, minced
    1        cup soft bread crumbs
    1        cup chopped fresh parsley
    1/2     teaspoon pepper
    2        eggs
    1        can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
    1        package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    1        jar (4.5 oz) Green Giant™ sliced mushrooms, drained
    1       egg white, slightly beaten
    • Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using 9-inch glass pie pan.
    • Heat oven to 375°F. In 10-inch skillet, cook ground beef, onions and garlic over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients except egg white. Pour into crust-lined pan.
    • With leaf-shaped canape or cookie cutter, cut out leaf shapes in several places in second crust. Place over filling; flute crust edge. Brush with beaten egg white. Arrange leaf cutouts on top crust; brush with egg white.
    • Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown. After 15 to 20 minutes of baking, cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

    Easy Apple Crisp

    Apple Crisp


    2 cans Apple Pie filling
    1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup sugar
    1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter, cubed
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
    Pour both cans of apple pie filling into an 8x8 baking dish.
    Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top of apple filling.

    In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and cubed butter. Using a fork or pastry cutter, mix all ingredients until combined well. Making sure to "cut" the butter into the mixture. 

    Honestly, sometimes this is just easiest to use your hands. Get in there and smoosh the butter together with the flour/sugar mixture until it is crumbly.

    It should look like little butter pebbles when it's ready.
    Stir in pecans.
    Spread the topping mixture over the apple pie filling.

    Put in the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes. It should be light golden brown and bubbly.
    Spoon onto plates or into bowls and top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or caramel or all three! I won't judge. I like it best when it's warm! 
    Source: The Country Cook

    BLT Quiche

    BLT Quiche

    Salty bacon, buttery leek and fire-roasted tomatoes, topped off with savory cheese...this is one finger-lickin' quiche!

    1        Pillsbury™ Refrigerated Pie Crust
    3        slices thick cut bacon, diced
    1        large leek, sliced, rinsed and drained
    1        tablespoon butter
    1        (14.5 oz) can Muir Glen™ organic fire roasted tomatoes, drained
    3        large eggs
    1        cup half and half
    1/2     teaspoon salt
    1        cup shredded flavorful cheese (Swiss, gouda, cheddar, etc)
    • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
    • Lay the prepared pie crust in a quiche or pie pan.
    • Fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Set aside.
    • While the bacon is frying, to save time heat the butter in another skillet and cook the leek over medium high heat until softened, 5-7 minutes.
    • Beat the eggs, half and half and salt in a mixing bowl with a wire whisk until combined.
    • Place the leek, bacon and fire-roasted tomatoes in the pie shell and pour the egg mixture over. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the quiche feels firm at the center. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

    5-Ingredient Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Beef

    5-ingredient Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Beef
    Try this easy pulled beef for your next BBQ sandwich night!

    4        pounds beef pot roast
    1/3     cup brown sugar
    1        teaspoon onion powder
    1        teaspoon garlic powder
    1        (12 oz.) stout be
    • Add the beef to a slow cooker. Sprinkle with brown sugar, onion powder and garlic powder. Pour the beer over the beef. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
    • Once the meat is cooked, shred with two forks. Serve in soft buns.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2015

    Chicken Biscuit Casserole

    • 1 small onion
    • 1 12 teaspoons butter
    • 2 lbs chopped cooked chicken breasts or 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
    • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
    • 12 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 cup milk
    • 12 cup chopped pimiento or 12 cup sauteed red bell peppers or 12 cup jarred roasted red pepper
    • 1 12 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
    • refrigerated biscuit
    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Grease the bottom and sides of an 11x7 inch baking dish or 10 inch quiche dish.
    3. Chop the onion.
    4. Heat butter in a small nonstick skillet and saute until tender.
    5. Combine cooked onion, soup, chicken, milk, pimiento, and mayo in a bowl and then turn into the prepared baking dish.
    6. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.
    7. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese over the baked mixture.
    8. Arrange biscuits decoratively in a single layer and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over them.
    9. Return casserole to oven and bake until biscuits are golden brown and sauce is bubbly, usually about 20 minutes longer.
    10. Note: 02/16/09: This is RICH! You may sub sour cream for all or part of the mayo if you wish to cut back on the heaviness. The last time I made this I used a 1/4 cup of fat free mayo and 1/4 cup of sour cream. I think it was delicious! Also -- I took the suggestion of adding a cup of cooked green peas. What a terrific idea! I LOVED it! I think I might add two cups next time. Thanks to you all for making my humble recipe and leaving your suggestions. You GREATLY improved a recipe I was already proud of. Thanks so much.
    Source: Incredible Recipes

    Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork

    Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork
    Slow cooker root beer pulled pork is a 3-ingredient recipe that makes fall-apart tender, sweet & tangy pulled pork perfect for sandwiches, sliders, or served with yummy sides.

    • 12 oz root beer (don’t use diet)
    • 1 bottle barbecue sauce (I use Bob Gibson’s red)
    • pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds) 
    1. Pour the root beer over the pork.
    2. Cook on low in slow cooker for 6 hours or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
    3. After meat is done, pour off juice, shred with a fork, and pour barbecue sauce over shredded meat.
    4. Keep warm in slow cooker. 

    Crunchy Slaw

    crunchy slaw
    This crunchy slaw is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Sweet, salty & crunchy~this is one of the best slaws you’ll ever eat!

    • For Slaw:
    • 2 bags cabbage slaw (not angel hair--it doesn't hold up well)
    • 1-2 packages ramen noodles (broken into small pieces--flavor packets discarded)
    • 1-2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
    • ½-1 package Craisins
    • 1-2 packages honey roasted almonds (or these fabulous homemade sugar glazed nuts)
    • handful of slivered almonds, lightly toasted
    • 1 package broccoli slaw (optional)
    • sunflower seeds (optional)
    • For Dressing:
    • 1 cup canola oil (can mix with some EVOO if desired)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ½ cup red wine vinegar
    • 2 TB soy sauce
    • salt & pepper to taste
    1. Slaw:
    2. Layer all slaw ingredients in a bowl.
    3. Add dressing, small amounts at a time, and toss well.
    4. Dressing:
    5. Add all dressing ingredients.
    6. Shake well or blend for 30 seconds in a blender or Vita-Mix.
    7. Keeps a week in the fridge.

    Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

    Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

    Slow cooker Brunswick stew is my my oft-requested soup recipe. It is comfort food in a bowl!

    • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
    • ½ lb. cooked bbq pork (from restaurant or grocery store)
    • 1 bag Simply Potatoes diced potatoes
    • 1 cup diced onion
    • 1 can creamed corn
    • 1 can whole kernel corn
    • 1 can baby lima beans, drained
    • 2 cans petite diced tomatoes
    • 3 TB butter
    • 1 carton Chicken Broth
    • ½ bottle barbecue sauce
    • 1 TB Liquid Smoke
    • 1 TB Worcestershire
    • Tobasco (to taste)
    • 2 TB Frank's Buffalo Sauce
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • salt & pepper to taste
    1. Steam potatoes and chopped onion in microwave for 4-5 minutes.
    2. Add potatoes & onion to slow cooker.
    3. Add all other ingredients; stir to combine.
    4. Cook on high one hour; reduce to low.
    5. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

    Bloomin’ Baked Apples

    Bloomin Baked Apples

    • 2 Honeycrisp apples (or other crisp apples)
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 3 tbsp brown sugar, packed
    • 1 tbsp flour
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 4 caramels
    • Optional toppings: vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and cinnamon
    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    2. To get the blooming apple look, you need to cut the apples. Slice off the top ¼ to ⅓ of the apples. Scoop out the core. I don’t have an apple corer so I used my metal ½ teaspoon measuring spoon. Then, use a thin knife to make two, deep circular cuts around the center of the apple. Next, turn the apple over and make narrow cuts all the way around the apple. Flip it back over and you can see all of the cuts.
    3. Place the apples in an oven safe dish and put two caramels into the center of each apple.
    4. Heat butter and brown sugar in the microwave for 30 second, stir and continue heating for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir in flour and cinnamon. Divide the mixture over the top of the two sliced apples.
    5. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. (Check apples after 25 minutes and continue cooking until tender. Some apples can take 45 min to 1 hour to soften.)
    6. Remove from the oven and use a large spoon to move the apples into bowls.
    7. Top with a scoop of ice cream, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with cinnamon. The ice cream will cause the caramel in the center to harden so eat quickly or put the ice cream scoop on the side.
    Click Here for tutorial.


    Speckled Egg Malted Milk Cake

    Speckled Egg Malted Milk Cake
    Wow guests at your Easter get-together with this impressive cake inspired by malted milk candy eggs.



    1        box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ white cake mix
    1/2     cup malted milk powder
    1 1/4  cups water
    1/3     cup vegetable oil
    3        eggs


    1 1/2  cups unsalted butter, softened
    4        cups powdered sugar
    1        teaspoon vanilla
              Dash salt
              Liquid blue food color

    Speckling Chocolate:

    1        tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
    4 1/2  teaspoons vanilla

    Phyllo Nest:

    1/3     cup kataifi (shredded phyllo dough)
    1        tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
    3        speckled candy-coated malted milk egg candies 
    • 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside.
    • 2 In large bowl, stir together cake mix and malted milk powder with whisk. Add remaining Cake ingredients; beat with electric mixer on low speed until well combined. Divide batter evenly among pans.
    • 3 Bake 22 to 28 minutes or until cakes spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool cakes in pans on cooling racks 5 minutes. Turn cakes out onto cooling racks; cool completely, about 30 minutes. Level cakes using large serrated knife or cake leveler, if needed.
    • 4 To make Frosting, in large bowl, beat softened butter and powdered sugar with electric mixer on low speed until incorporated; beat on high speed 3 minutes. Add vanilla and salt; beat 1 minute longer. Add blue food color 1 drop at a time, beating until a light blue color is achieved.
    • 5 Fill and frost cooled cake. Refrigerate frosted cake 1 hour or until frosting is dry to the touch.
    • 6 In small condiment bowl, mix baking cocoa and vanilla. Load unused (new) stiff-bristle paint brush with cocoa mixture. Using fingers, flick loaded brush bristles toward cake creating a splatter pattern. Re-load brush; cover entire cake with chocolate speckles. Refrigerate cake 30 minutes.
    • 7 To make Phyllo Nest, heat oven to 375°F. Butter 1 muffin cup in regular-size muffin pan. Tear off 1/3 cup portion of kataifi; place in muffin cup in a circular nest shape. Gently brush phyllo nest with melted butter. Bake 15 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown around edge. Gently remove nest with fork; cool on cooling rack. Attach cooled nest to cake with dot of frosting. Place 3 speckled egg candies inside nest.
    • 8 Before serving, bring cake to room temperature. Store cake loosely covered with plastic wrap.
    Source:  Heather Baird

    Elegant Fresh Berry Tart

    This tart was my first original creation. If other fresh fruits are used, adjust simple syrup flavor to match.

    Total Time Prep: 45 minutes  + chilling 
    Bake: 10 minutes  + cooling
    Makes: 16 servings

    1/2 cup of butter softened
    1/3 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon of grated orange peel 
    1/4 teaspoon orange extract
    1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup all-purpose flour


    1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened 
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/2 cup of water
    1 tablespoon red raspberry or strawberry preserves
    1/4 teaspoon lemon juice


    1 cup fresh raspberries
    1 pound of fresh strawberries, sliced
    2 medium kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced  
    1/2 cup of fresh blueberries 

    1. In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the orange peel and extracts. Gradually add flour until mixture forms a ball. Press into a greased 11-in. fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
    2. For filling, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Spread over crust. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.
    3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the water, sugar, preserves and lemon juice to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
    4. Arrange the strawberries, raspberries, kiwi and blueberries over filling. Brush with sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.  
    5. Yield: 16 servings.

    Source: Denise Nakamoto of Elk Grove, California.

    Berry Trifle

    Berry Trifle
    Fresh summer strawberries and blueberries make this spectacular dessert rich in vitamin C and full of flavor. It's easy to make and ready to chill in 25 minutes.

    • 1 4-serving-size package instant vanilla pudding mix
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 6 ounce container vanilla yogurt
    • 1 10 3/4 ounce frozen loaf pound cake, thawed and cubed (3/4-inch cubes)
    • 6 cups strawberries, quartered
    • 2 cups blueberries and/or raspberries
    • 1 recipe Berry Sauce
    Berry Sauce:
    • 2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries or raspberries
    • 2 - 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur, rum, or orange juice

    1. Prepare pudding mix according to package directions using the milk; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and yogurt with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth; stir in pudding.
    2. To assemble trifle, in a 2-1/2- to 3-quart glass bowl layer one-third of the cake cubes, one-third of the pudding mixture, and one-third of the strawberries and blueberries. Repeat layers twice. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours. Spoon Berry Sauce onto individual serving plates; top with trifle. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
    Berry Sauce:
    1. In a blender or food processor combine fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries or raspberries, sugar, and raspberry liqueur, rum, or orange juice. Cover and blend or process until smooth. If desired, press sauce through a fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds. Cover and chill until serving time or up to 24 hours. 


    Pumpkin Pecan Pie

    Combine two classic favorites to make one delicious dessert. This recipe combines crunchy pecans and creamy pumpkin for a rich and flavorful treat.


    • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup dark-colored corn syrup
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • Whipped cream (optional)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl combine the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon; mix well. Pour into the pie crust. Sprinkle with the pecans.
    2. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted off center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate within 2 hours; cover for longer storage. If desired, serve with whipped cream. 
    Makes: 8 servings. 


    Southern Pecan Pie

    For Thanksgiving or Christmas, this Southern-style dessert is expected on many tables. A couple tablespoons of bourbon add Southern cheer to the pecan pie recipes.

    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup shortening
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
    • 4 - 5 tablespoons cold water
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup corn syrup
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
    • Whipped cream

    1. For pastry, in a bowl stir together the 1-1/4 cups of flour and salt. Cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in finely chopped pecans. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push to side of bowl. Repeat until all is moistened. Form dough into a ball.
    2. On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough with your hands. Roll dough from center to edges, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Wrap pastry around a rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate; fold under extra pastry. Make a fluted edge. Do not prick pastry.
    3. For filling, in a mixing bowl beat eggs lightly with a rotary beater until combined. Stir in corn syrup, sugar, margarine, the 1 tablespoon flour, the bourbon, and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in the pecan halves.
    4. Place pastry-lined pie plate on the oven rack. Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool.
    5. Serve with whipped cream. Cover and chill to store. 
    Makes: 8 servings.

    Chocolate Chess Pie

    A Southern dessert classic, this chess pie is loaded with pecans. Serve it with Texas-size dollops of whipped cream.

    • 1 recipe Pastry for a Single-Crust Pie
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • Whipped cream (optional)
    Pastry for Single-Crust Pie:
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup shortening
    • 3 - 4 tablespoons cold water 

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare Pastry for a Single-Crust Pie; set aside.
    2. For filling, in a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornmeal, flour, and salt. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into sugar mixture until smooth. Stir in pecans.
    3. Pour filling into pastry-lined pie plate. Bake about 1 hour or until filling is set and crust is golden. If crust begins to brown too fast, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and cover edge of crust with foil. Cool pie on a wire rack. (Filling will fall slightly during cooling.) Chill within 2 hours. If desired, serve with whipped cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
    Pastry for Single-Crust Pie:
    1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Sprinkle additional cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, over mixture until all of the dough is moistened. Form the dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edges into a 12-inch circle. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge as desired.

    Make Ahead Tip:

    • Cover and chill cooled pie for up to 24 hours.