Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chocolate Pudding

Who doesn't love chocolate pudding? A perfect dessert for Valentine's Day or any other day!This recipe comes from All You . If you do not have any semisweet chocolate in the house, regular chocolate chips will do.

1/4 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2-1/2 c. milk
1 c. semisweet chocolate,chopped(or chocolate chips)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. butter

   In a saucepan, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Slowly add the milk while whisking,until you have a smooth mixture. Turn the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, while whisking until thickened.
   Remove the pan from the heat. Quickly, add in the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Whisk until it is all incorporated and smooth.
   Spoon into desired dishes and cover with plastic wrap,pushing down on it so a skin does not form. Refrigerate until ready to use. To serve, garnish with whipped cream and additional chocolate if desired.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ice Cream Cake Hearts

 This dessert is very simple to make. I purchased some Kane heart-shaped chocolate cups, and filled them with a mixture of pound cake, ice-cream and chocolate whipped cream. These can be made ahead and kept frozen, making them the perfect ending to a Valentine's Day meal!

1 box of  Kane Candy Heart Cups(4 per box)
pound cake(homemade or store-bought)
vanilla or chocolate ice cream
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
chocolate syrup

 Place the chocolate cups on a plate or platter. Using a 1-1/2 to 2 inch heart shaped cookie cutter, cut heart shapes out of 4 slices of pound cake.Carefully place a  cake heart inside each chocolate heart.

  Slightly soften the ice-cream. Using a medium size scoop, gently press down the ice-cream with a spoon, and then cut out a heart shape using the same heart-shaped cookie cutter. Carefully place the ice-cream on top of the pound cake in each chocolate heart.
   Place the hearts in the freezer while making the whipped cream. In the bowl of your mixer, whip the cream, sugar, vanilla, and about 1/4 c. of chocolate syrup. Whip until creamy but thick and stable. Place the cream in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, and decorate the top of each heart. Garnish with sprinkles or shaved chocolate. Enjoy immediately, or keep frozen until ready to use.

Kane candy cups can be purchased at , and come in a variety of shapes. They also come with the chocolate curls for garnish.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Valentine Cake Pops

   These pops are a great baking/craft activity for you and your children. Cake pops have been around for quite awhile now, and were made famous by Bakerella. The basic recipe only requires a box of your favorite cake mix, along with a tub of frosting. Dip them into some melted chocolate, and there you have it! Be sure to check out the Bakerella blog for tons of great cake pop ideas for any occasion! .The molds I used for these pops can be found at .

1 box of cake mix
1 tub of frosting
candy melts
lollipop sticks

Bake the cake according to the directions on the package.I baked mine in a one layer rectangular pan. Once the cake has cooled, crumble it up with your hands.Add the frosting. I would use about 3/4 of the frosting to start, add more if the dough is too stiff. Roll into balls, or use molds to make desired shapes.

   Place the cakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes while you melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted and no longer hot, place one stick into each cake and dip into the chocolate,covering completely, and letting the excess drip off. Decorate with sprinkles or other edible decorations if desired.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Valentine Kisses

Here is a fun idea that is as easy as it is cute. If you enlist your children's help, it will keep them busy for quite awhile. All you need is a few packages of Hershey kisses,a 3/4 inch punch,label paper and these adorable printables from . These treats are perfect for classroom Valentine parties ,or just for your own little sweethearts.

Hershey Kisses
plastic candy bags
a 3/4 inch circle punch(I found mine at Michael's)
label paper for your computer

   Download the stickers from www.amandaparkerandfamily,  , they are listed under "freebies." Using your punch, punch out all of the circles that will print out on your sheet. Peel the back off of each circle and adhere it to a Hershey Kiss. Place in candy bags, and top with the labels also available from Amanda, or place in the container of your choice. Have fun!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pasta with Goat Cheese and Broccoli

This is a Wolfgang Puck recipe that is just as delicious as it is easy! Perfect for a weeknight dinner.The original is made with plain goat cheese, but I like to use the herbed goat cheese instead.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp pine nuts,toasted(optional)
1-1/2 c. chicken stock
1/2 lb. small broccoli florets
1 tsp. chopped,fresh thyme
3 Tbsp. butter
4 ounces herbed goat cheese(or plain)
12 oz. of thin sphagetti or angel hair pasta

     In a saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil and boil until it has reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for your pasta.
  Heat a saute pan and melt the butter. Add the broccoli and cook for about two minutes.Add the reduced stock and cook for a few minutes. Add the thyme, goat cheese, butter,a dash of pepper, and whisk together until the cheese melts.Add salt if desired.

   Cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water  with the Tbsp. of oil until tender, but still slightly chewy. Drain the pasta , and add it to the goat cheese mixture. Mix well, and top with the toasted pine nuts.
   *** To toast pine nuts, place them in a dry saute pan and cook for a minute or two, shaking the pan frequently. Be careful, as they burn easily.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Grandma Annette's Pork Chop and Apple Compote

   I saw this recipe on The Chew a few weeks ago, and decided to give it a try. It turned out to be delicious! It is a very well-rounded dish and makes a great dinner on a cold winter evening.

Pork Chop Ingredients:
6 thick cut bone -in pork chops
olive oil
salt and pepper

   Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator for at least an hour before cooking. Season generously with salt and pepper.
   In a saute pan,using about 2 tbsp. of olive oil, sear the pork chops until golden on each side. Place in a 350 degree oven until cooked through, approximately 6-8 minutes.

BraisedCabbage Ingredients:
1 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves smashed
1 red onion ,sliced thin
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 c. water
3 Tbsp. butter
fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste

In a large saute pan , melt the butter. Add the cabbage, garlic and onion. Saute for a few minutes, then add 1/2 a cup of the water. Saute until the water has been absorbed, then add another 1/2 c. of water. Continue until all of the water has been used. Add the vinegar and brown sugar. Saute until all of the liquid has been absorbed, and the cabbage and onions are tender. Season with salt and pepper.Top with parsley if desired.

Apple Compote Ingredients:
 3 granny smith apples, peeled and large diced
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. water
1 lemon juiced

In a saute pan, saute the apples in the butter until browned. Add the cinnamon, water ,lemon and a pinch of salt. Saute until the apples are cooked through, and you have a nice sauce.

To serve, place the cabbage on a plate, top with a pork chop and the apples with their sauce. Enjoy!

*** The apple compote would be delicious over vanilla ice-cream!