Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

I'm still in the middle of a move but I thought I would share something I made earlier this year. I'm one of those people that tears recipes out of magazines and tosses the magazine, which is how I came across this recipe.

I didn't quite use the 2 lbs. of broccoli that the recipe called for. I used all of the florets and 2/3 or so of the stems. I also increased the rice by 1/4C and added cream and broth to compensate for the addition. The cayenne pepper gives it just a hint of a kick, another thing I was a little liberal with. I added 5 min. in the oven for a crunchy topping.

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

2 slices hearty white sandwich bread
3/4C grated Parmesan cheese
4T unsalted butter, melted; + 2T, chilled
1 garlic clove, minced
2 lbs. broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped fine
1-1/4C long-grain rice
1-1/4C half-and-half
1t salt
2C shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/8t cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 400. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Pulse bread, 1/4C Parmesan, and melted butter in food processor until coarsely ground. Add garlic.

Microwave broccoli florets, covered, until bright green and tender, 2-4 minutes; set aside. Melt remaining butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onion and broccoli stems until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 1 min. Stir in broth, half-and-half, and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to med.-low and cook, stirring often, until rice is tender, 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in cheddar, cayenne, remaining Parmesan and broccoli florets.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake until sauce is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Delicate Pear Cake w/ Caramel Sauce

A friend of mine had a birthday and instead of presents, she asked us to give her our favorite recipe. She bought a special scrapbook for the recipes and I just finished one of the pages I'm giving her.

This cake is so yummy! I've been making it for 20 years now and it always receives compliments and requests for the recipe. I have one friend who would be happy if I made the caramel sauce and didn't bother with the cake. She loves the sauce and spoons it on generously with her cake.

Delicate Pear Cake w/ Caramel Sauce

16 oz. can pear halves in extra light syrup
1 pkg. white cake mix
1/3C oil
3 egg whites

1C whipping cream
2T sugar
1t vanilla
16 oz. can pear halves in extra light syrup, drained
1/2C finely chop

1C brown sugar
1C whipping cream
1/2C butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 10" tube pan. Drain pear halves, reserving 1/3C liquid. Place pear halves in food processor with metal blade, process until smooth. In large bowl combine cake mix, pureed pears, reserved liquid, oil and egg whites at low speed. Pour into pan. Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool upright in pan 15 minutes; invert onto serving plate, cool completely.

In small bowl, beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla. Frost cake. Cut pear halves lengthwise into 32 slices. Arrange on top of cake slightly overlapping. Press nuts into sides of cake. Refrigerate until serving time.

In medium saucepan, combine sauce ingredients; bring to boil. Boil over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Drizzle 2T sauce over pear slices.

To serve, spoon about 2T sauce onto individual dessert plates. Place slice of cake on sauce. Store cake and sauce in refrigerator.

* High Altitude - above 3500 ft. Add 1/4C flour to dry cake mix. Bake as directed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Oreo and Cake Balls

Every Christmas, my family would do the 12 days. My mom would make treats for every day and then us kids would deliver them. I split my pants open on a barbed wire fence, hid in a muddy culvert and was discovered by a 80 something yr old that was about 4 ft tall. But those are the memories I treasure. Not only the fun of the sneaking but also of baking with my mom. We would make every Christmas treat known to man and loved every moment of it! Now with my mom gone, I still love to find new recipes to take to others at Christmas. Hopefully they love the treats as much as I do!
Here are two of my favorites. One I found in a Quick Cooking magazine and the other my friend with the Cinnamon Roll recipe gave to me.

Oreo Cream Cheese Drops

1 20 oz pkg. oreos
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese (softened)
15 oz white or chocolate bark

Put all the cookies in the blender and process until finely crushed (a food processor works great too). Mix cream cheese and crumbs together well. Roll into ¾ in. balls and cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour (this makes a huge difference, when you dip them into the chocolate it will harden quickly). Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler and dip half the balls. Place on waxed paper or buttered dish. Melt the chocolate again if needed or a different color and dip the remaining balls. Drizzle with alternate colors of chocolate and store in refrigerator.

Makes about 7 dozen

Cake Balls

1 cake mix-made according to directions (I like chocolate best)
1/4 to 1/2 c. evaporated milk, coffee creamer or half and half
(what I have on hand is what I use)
1 pound dipping chocolate
Flavoring (optional)

Bake the cake according the directions on the box and let the cake cool completely. Crumble all of it into a large bowl. Add just enough milk and mix with your hands until you can squeeze some together and it doesn't fall apart. Add flavoring if wanted. My friend likes almond flavoring. Form into golf ball size balls and refrigerate about 30 minutes. Dip into melted chocolate and let harden. One of the yummiest things ever!

Cinnamon Rolls

My Grandma Ola was a wonderful cook. My Grandpa Al would show up to the house at lunch time and would have told 5-10 guys he'd been working with that his "Blondie" would make lunch. My grandma was always ready to kill him but managed to lay a delicious spread. She loved to bake and perhaps that's where my love of it came to be.
I grew up with the idea that if someone could bake great cinnamon rolls, they had become someone to admire. I tried and tried to make them and finally managed pretty decent ones. Then a friend of mine gave me this recipe. Ohhhhh man! If I can make and they come out good, then anyone can. Anyway, here's the recipe.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 c. milk
1 egg, beaten
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 Tbsp. water
½ (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
4 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp. yeast

½ c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Place all the ingredients in the breadmaker. Use the dough cycle. When it is finished, knead dough enough to punch down down and roll to a 17x10 inch rectangle. Mix filling recipe and spread over rolled out dough, getting as close to the edges as possible. Roll the dough into a tight log and cut into 12 pieces. Put into a lightly greased 9x13 pan and let rise until double, about 20-30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Frost with cream cheese icing.