Monday, January 30, 2012

Mmmm Monday....Fruit Pizza

This is one of my favorite desserts!  I just had it yesterday and I'm still thinking about it.  Mmmmm...yes.  LOVE IT!  Other than cutting up the fruit, it's really easy too.  Having made it dozens and dozens of times, however, I do have a few little hints. 

Here's the recipe:

And here's the tips:

1.  I love easy recipes, so you could make your sugar cookie by scratch, but I love the way this mix turns out.  Betty Crocker has many pouch mixes, so look for that section at the grocery store.   Beat the egg and softened butter into the mix until a soft dough forms. 

2.  Roll dough into a large ball.  I like to use a pizza pan, but if you don't have one, use a greased cookie might need to be a little more oval.  Flatten down the ball.  I don't flatten it down all the way, but so it's about 1/2 the size if will end up being. 

3.  Bake at 375 degrees (350 if using a dark or nonstick pan) for about 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  It might need longer.  Sometimes, the center needs longer than the edges.  That's why it's important to flatten out the ball.  If the center does need more time and your edges burn, no worries, just cut them off.  No one will notice.

4.  While your cookie is baking you can start to make the mixture.  I think the key to combining cream cheese with anything is...1.  Make sure it's soft (pull out about 1/2 hour - 1 hour before) and 2. beat with your mixer BEFORE adding anything to it.  This helps it from making the mixture clumpy.  So beat your soft cream cheese, add in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1/4 tsp. vanilla.  Once that looks all good and great, add in the cool whip, but don't beat it in too much. 

5.  After your cookie is good and cooled, frost it with your cream cheese mixture and add on the fruit.  I love it with kiwis, strawberries, bananas, and blueberries but you could add whatever you like. 

I have made this for holidays for friends and it is a huge hit!  For Valentines, add some red food coloring to the frosting and shape your cookie like a heart.  For Halloween, add in orange and shape it like a pumpkin.  I promise, they will love it.

So there you have it.  Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pomegranate Salsa

Pomegranate Salsa....I know it's a little past the season for pomegranates, but this is a very very favorite of mine and I had to share.  Maybe bookmark for your Christmas party next year.  It's just a great fresh salsa with a sweet little kick when you bite into a pomegranate seed. LOVE IT!  I like to use cherry tomatoes because it makes the salsa so bright and I coursely chop them in my food processor.  Makes it much easier than having to hand dice them all.  (I'm all about making things easier.)  You definitely don't want to puree them though, so be careful.   
First off:  Do you know how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate?
 Step 1:  Cut off each end.
Step 2:  Score the pomegranate by slicing it from one end to another. 
Step 3:  Fill a bowl full of water.
Step 4:  Place the pomegranate in the water and break it open (it should open nicely along the score marks). 
Step 5:  Remove the seeds.  By doing it in the water, you will avoid having the juice splatter all over your clothes.  Been there, done that, it stains and is no fun.
Step 6.  The membranes will float to the top and the seeds will sink to the bottom.  Strain out the membrames and tada!!!  You will have your pomegranate seeds.  For those that don't like the work....Costco seasonally sells them already seeded. 

I always double or even triple this recipe.  I also will only add about 1/2 tsp of salt and then add more if needed.  Sometimes, I find that if you are using salty chips, adding to much salt to this recipes can be over powering. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mmmm Monday...White Chicken Chili

Ok, we are going to start a new goal for the blog.  A recipe every Monday.  Some I will share that are in the book, and other will be new ones I have tried.

Tonight, I made the boys one of our very favorites (this is a 3 times a month recipe)....White Chicken Chili.  I love this recipe.  I have tried a TON of chili recipes (thanks to all the Chili cook-offs I've attended over the years) and this one is by far the best.  I promise, you will love it.  Every time I take it anywhere, I am asked for the recipe.

Here's the recipe (click for printable pdf version):

Saute until  chicken is fully cooked in saucepan
1 lb. chicken breast (bite-sized chunks) --- see notes about this below
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

2-3 cans great northern white beans, rinsed and drained
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 4 oz. can of diced green chiles, mild
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I usually add less than this...if any at all because my kids can't handle the heat.)

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 30-45 min.  Remove from heat and add:
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 c. sour cream now for the tid-bits.  First off, I always use rotisserie chicken.  Perhaps it's laziness or perhaps it's the shredded meat...but whatever it is I switched over and I don't know if I will go back.  DO WHAT YOU HAVE THOUGH.  If you have regular chicken, use it.  It will still be awesome.  If you use the rotisserie chicken, it's already cooked, so the first part cooks up in a snap.  Basically just add your oil, onion, and garlic powder and heat until onions are tender and you are good to go to the next step. 

I have a few things in my freezer at all times.  My mom had them, and I have them.  One of these things is chopped onion.  Again, I am lazy so I will usually just buy the chopped onion in the frozen food aisle.  For this recipe, I just throw about a 1/2 cup in. 

The next step is adding the beans....that you rinsed and drained (I throw them in my strainer real quick), chicken broth, and the seasonings.  About the beans...I always add 3 cans.  My mom likes her chili not so thick so she only adds two.  Do what you feel is right. :)  Also, remember what I mentioned about the cayenne pepper and decide what kind of person you are.  If my husband had his say, he would eat it at full strength.  Sad for him, he doesn't get his say.  The little munchkins do.

Bring that all to a boil and let simmer for about 30-45 min. so the beans get really soft and the flavors meld together.  Let's be honest though, sometimes we are talking about a 5 minute simmer because this was a last minute dinner.  Still great.  I do recommend the time if you have it though.

Want a lower fat chili (I don't, but I always think I should), leave out the creams.  Add some more chicken broth though so you have more liquid. 

There you have it.  Pick up some bread when you pick up your rotisserie chicken and you have an awesome warm meal for a snowy day. 

I have attached the recipe.  The recipe is already in my book...for those of you that have one.