Monday, October 27, 2008

Dip dip... mmm :)

When I saved this next recipe, I really didn't know when I would make it or how well it would be received. So yesterday for my Dad's birthday gathering, I found the perfect time to make it AND the perfect audience to try it out on... my family!

This dip is so easy & so yummy... creamy & flavored with all the right flavors for fall (my trifecta - see previous post for explanation!). I served this dip with gingersnap cookies & pretzels... I'm sure fresh fruit would be a great option too!

Enjoy :)

Pumpkin Dip
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2 c. confectioners sugar, sifted
1 (8 oz. ) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin pie filling mix
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and cream cheese, beating until well blended. Beat in remaining ingredients.
Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carrots are good for your vision...

... even if they are drenched in cream cheese icing!

So Saturday was my Dad's birthday and the man loves carrot cake. I decided that I would attempt my first home made carrot cake! The reaction of the birthday boy was simple... "yummm" :)

I found this recipe on the food blog titled "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" and made some simple changes to it to make it more spicy (I'm in love with my trifecta of fall spices... clove, cinnamon, nutmeg!). This makes a massive amount of cake! I ended up baking it in 8" x 3" pans & spliiting the cake to make a pretty 4 later cake! I did, however, double the frosting recipe (and is noted below) I used because let's be honest, who doesn't love gobs of cream cheese frosting?!

Enjoy :)

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Walnut Frosting
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4 cups sugar
2 cup vegetable oil
8 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups grated carrots
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix sugar, oil, and eggs. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and combine. Add carrots and mix well. Fold in coconut & raisins. Pour into a greased pan and bake until done, 25 to 50 minutes,
depending on the pan you use for 30-60 minutes (I used 8"x3" pans and it took 55 minutes to bake). Cool completely.

2 sticks regular butter, softened
2 packages (16 ounces) cream cheese
2 pounds powdered sugar
2 cups pecans, chopped finely
4 teaspoons vanilla

In large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and blend, then mix in the nuts. Spread on cooled carrot cake.

Happy Birthday Dad!
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24 down, 12 left.

So I stumbled across a recipe for apple cookies on and thought "I could do something like that, but better!). Here's my "better"!

However, while whipping up my own concoction of Granny Smith apples, cinnamon, and oatmeal... I decided to bake them at 375 for 11-12 minutes as the inspiration recipe stated. Well, needless to say, the title of this entry is what happened... I ended up with only 12 cookies because I burnt the first 24 I put in at 375.

Soooo, I kicked the oven down to 350 and put them in for 8 minutes and they came out perfectly! These cookies are spicy and sweet all at the same time... Enjoy :)

Oatmeal Apple Cookies with Cinnamon Glaze
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1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 granny smith apples - peeled, cored and grated (squeeze excess juice out)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup rolle oats

Beat butter and brown sugar together.
Beat in egg and blend thoroughly.
Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Stir half the dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Stir in apples and then stir in remaining half of dry ingredients and milk. Mix well.
Drop from tablespoon 1 1/2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove cookies to racks.

1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and enough milk to make glaze of spreading consistency. Beat until smooth. Drizzle on warm cookies.


Two of my favorite things in the whole foodie world are pasta & shrimp... this recipe is the perfect marriage of two... kicked up a little, of course :) My mom actually found this recipe and we fixed it a few weeks back and everyone raved about it... o much so that we fixed it again last night! Serve it alongside some crusty Italian bread and be ready to breath some fire!

Spicy Shrimp Pasta
(adapted from Emeril's Shrimp and Pasta with Chilis, Garlic, Lemon and Green Onions)
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20 to 25 (1 1/4 pounds) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound pasta (I prefer linguini)
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with the Essence.
Bring a pot of water to boil for the linguini. Cook & reserve one ladle of cooking water,
Place the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large 14-inch skillet over high heat.
Add the shrimp to the pan, spreading them evenly in 1 layer. Cook for 2 minutes then turn them to the other side.
Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the wine, lemon juice, lemon zest and remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter and cook for 1 1/2 minutes.
Add the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Add the ladle of cooking water & the pasta to the pot and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove pasta from heat, dress with green onions, and serve.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup

Chicken a la Tana

This is a staple in my house... so easy to make & so yummy!! Enjoy!

Chicken a la Tana
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4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin (approximately 1/4 inch)
4 pieces of prosciutto di parma
4 pieces of provolone cheese
seasoned bread crumbs
tooth picks
olive oil
1 package of baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
white wine
worcestershire sauce

Take your pounded breasts and season the inside with salt & pepper.
Lay one piece of prosciutto in each breasts followed by one piece of cheese.
roll up the chicken, ensuring that the sides are tucked in.
Dredge each chicken roll in bread crumbs & then brown in a skillet that has approx. 2 tbsp of butter melted with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
After the chicken is browned, place into a pyrex baking dish & bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees (or until chicken is firm & cheese is bubbly).
While your chicken is baking, take your mushrooms and place into a deep sided skillet along with 2 tbsp of butter, a couple of dashes of worcestershire sauce, and approx. 1/4 cup of white wine (I prefer pint grigio).
Saute the mushrooms until soft & browned (you may need to add more butter or some salt & pepper -- depending upon your taste).
Dress the chicken with the mushroom sauce & enjoy :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Spooky & delicious!!

I heart cake.
I heart truffles.
I heart lollipops.

If you're anything like me and enjoy the above 3 treats, this recipe is so for you! I've made these cake balls before (right around St. Pats!) and they were a hit so I figured, why not make them Halloween-a-fied! Mr. Tana-Licious and I are headed to a Halloween party and I was asked to bring something sweet (besides my sweet self!)... Cake balls it is!

I decided to do chocolate cake with chocolate icing on the inside and then dip them into both white chocolate and milk chocolate. And, I decided to use lollipop sticks to make them easier to eat for the party go-er's. Frankly, I don't think I would make this recipe again without using lollipop sticks! The stick helped so much with dipping and even more with dropping the nonpareils over top!

Who says ghosts can't be adorable?!

Cake Balls
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1 box cake mix of your choice (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can frosting of your choice (16 oz.)
1 bag of chocolate meltable discs
wax paper

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl. (I tend to then put my crumbled cake into the fridge to get extra cold).
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting (I found it easy to use a spatula to blend).
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet (I used a small cookie scoop and ended up with 60+).
4. Chill for several hours (I left them in the fridge for 24 hours).
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Stick lollipop sticks into the chilled cake balls.
7. Dip balls in chocolate and stand on wax paper until firm -- if you're using nonpareils, drizzle those over the warm chocolate and if you're making ghosts or drizzling chocolate, wait until the chocolate has set!

Trick or Treat!
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Caramel Apple Pie... x's 2!

I stumbled across this recipe while visiting the RI Nest page as I sometimes do to take a peak at what new recipes those fab women are cooking up. Everyone seemed to be raving about this pie so I figured I'd give it a whirl!

My Dad is a diabetic so with the amount of apples I had (two 1/2 pecks form a local farm stand!), I figured I'd make 2 pies and then have my future in-law's over for pie on Sunday evening!

Both pies browned up really nicely and tasted yummy however, they were both so watery... maybe it was the type of apples? Who knows! It certainly did not hurt the taste of the pie in anyway! It just made it more like an apple crisp once I scooped it out of the pie dish!

I did make some slight adjustments to the recipe... Beyond the switch of Spelnda for sugar, I did not have pumpkin pie spice so I did a 50/50 ration of cinnamon and nutmeg for that. And, for the apples... I used way more than 6 apples. I like an over filled pie and that's what these both endedd up being. I'd say that from the two 1/2 pecks we had, there were only 5 apples left!

I would make this pie again, just maybe with a different apple to type to see if I could reduce the wateriness... and maybe add more caramel on top for more of a punch!

Enjoy :)

Carmel Apple Pie
Adapted from the RI Nest board & their recipe site.

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1/2 Cup(s) sugar (for the sugar free pie, I used Splenda)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon(s) cornstarch
14-16 peeled cored apples -- aproximatley 5 pounds for a heaping pie (I used Macintosh)
1 Tablespoon(s) lemon juice
1 Teaspoon(s) rum or rum extract
9 " unbaked deep dish pie crust
6 Tablespoon(s) divided butter or margarine
3 Tablespoon(s) caramel ice cream topping
1/2 Cup(s) flour
1/3 Cup(s) brown sugar (for the sugar free pie, I used Spelnda brown sugar)

Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and corn starch in a large bowl. Cut apples into 1/4" thick slices and place in a separate bowl. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice and rum; add to dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Place in pie crust. Dot with 2 tablespoons of butter. Drizzle with caramel sauce.

Stir flour and brown sugar together in small bowl. Cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle evenly over top of pie.

Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown.