Monday, January 22, 2007

Weird recipe, great brownies!

I found this one in a Christmas Gooseberry Patch cookbook Diane loaned me. These Graham Cracker Brownies taste kind of like Hello Dolly bars, but without nuts and coconut; just chocolate! They're chewy and rich, and blow away boxed brownie mixes in flavor. Plus, super-easy to make, and made of the kind of ingredients you usually have on hand anyway. Here it is:

Graham Cracker Brownies
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (have a kid bust 'em up for you for fun!)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
Dash salt
1 t. baking powder.

Mix it all together, spread it in a square baking dish, and bake at 350 for 30-35 mins!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Jay's B-day dinner: Frozen Coconut Caramel Pie, Cajun Shrimp and Asparagus

Here's three recipes in one post! I'll just provide links to them, though. Wednesday was Jay's birthday (the big 2-9), and so I cooked a kind of special occasion meal. Of course, it consisted of all new recipes, because I don't have many special occasion meal recipes up my sleeve. I can't very well cook Beef-Vegetable Stew or Cornbread Ranch Chicken on his day, no matter how great they taste on a weeknight! Luckily, everything turned out delicious, despite a few errors I thought I made in the process!

The main course was Cajun shrimp and steak, and I got the recipe from Taste of Home. I just marinated some sirloin steak in the shrimp marinade. This is a great way to make shrimp kind of fun and fancy, as you make a special Cajun butter to dip it in! Jay loved the butter, and he dipped his steak and asparagus in it, too! I also got a great, easy spicy asparagus recipe from Taste of Home, and it was definitely a recipe I will use again when I'm cooking a spicy kind of meal. Jay absolutely loved it.

Jay's birthday dessert was this fantastic Frozen Coconut Caramel Pie, which he first tasted just a couple weeks ago at my mom's family's Christmas/New Year's get-together. Aunt Michelle, the perennial knock-your-socks-off dessert maker, brought this little doozy. It's kind of like an ice cream pie meets a cheesecake, with a scrumptious topping of caramel ice cream sauce and toasted coconut and pecan. I don't even like coconut, and I loved this pie! Jay loves coconut, so he practically swooned over it! When he first tasted Aunt Michelle's, he had this kind of dazed expression on his face, and I asked him what was up, and all he could say was, "You gotta try this," and point at his saucer with only the tiniest traces of caramel on it.

If you're ever looking for a good recipe, my favorite way to search is to go to Taste of Home and search their Contest-Winning recipes. That's what I did for the shrimp and asparagus recipes. I believe this is a subscriber-only function, though, so you gotta pay to play!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Easy, yummy Chicken Alfredo

I got this recipe from a Christmas gift: a Creative Cuisine cookbook from Diane, signed by the author herself, a lady who owns a restaurant in Pottsboro and cooks on the noon news once a week. The secret ingredient: booze! Don't worry, I brought it to a boil after adding the liquor, so the alcohol content was greatly diminished, if not erased. Here it is, from memory:

2 chicken breasts, thawed and cut into bite-sized pieces
4 T. butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 jar Alfredo sauce: I used Bertolli garlic Alfredo
1/2 t. minced garlic
1/2 cup Chardonnay (you might could substitute chicken broth)
2 cups cooked fettucine noodles: I used whole wheat, and they were great, very flavorful!

Cook chicken in butter until lightly browned, about five minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic. (I drizzled it with EVOO b/c the butter was mostly gone.) Saute for about two minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Add sauce and wine; let simmer for about five minutes. Pour over noodles and let stand for 5-10 mins, until sauce has thickened. Sprinkle with parsley flakes.

Serve with garlic bread (I use Peppridge Farm frozen five-cheese Italian bread--yum!) and salad!