Saturday, May 21, 2011

Toasted Coconut

I love the way my kitchen smells when I am toasting coconut... mmmm!

Coconut Flakes, (I prefer sweetened)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, or lightly spray with cooking spray. Spread desired amount of coconut flakes on baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Stir and return to oven another 5 minutes or until desired doneness. It should look golden brown. :) Let cool completely; store in airtight container until ready to use.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispy Treats

These are a fun variation to a classic treat. These treats are just as easy as the original and yet seem to add just a touch of class, fit for any occasion! Enjoy!

6 C Rice Krispies cereal
1/4 C butter
1 bag (10 or 10.5 oz) Marshmallows
1 to 1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 - 12 oz bag white chocolate chips, optional

Prepare 9x13 pan with cooking spray or waxed paper. Measure out 6 C of cereal and set aside. In heavy pot melt butter over LOW heat. Without burning let butter brown just slightly (this really helps to bring out the flavor). Add marshmallows and spice and stir until melted. Add cereal to pot and stir to coat well. Turn cereal into prepared pan. With buttered spatula or hands press mixture into pan evenly. Let set about 15 minutes. Turn over onto large cutting board. In microwave-safe dish, melt chocolate at 50% power for 30 second. Stir well and repeat in 30 second intervals until melted. Pour or drizzle over treats. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice if desired. Let chocolate set completely before cutting.

I like to use a pizza cutter to cut my treats. Try cutting into big squares and then cut each square twice in opposite diagonals to make these cute little treats.

You could also try drizzling with milk chocolate or caramel, or even microwave a tub of cream cheese frosting for about 30 seconds and drizzle that on. Yumm-o!

Marshmallow Creme Swirl Brownies

Ok folks, this one is an EASY PEASY one! I promise! If I can do it so can you! This is so simple, I almost feel guilty calling it a "recipe". But truly, you will feel like a rock star when you show up to your next picnic potluck with these nummy treats!

1 - brownie mix (for 9x13 pan)
eggs, oil & water according to mix directions
1 small jar Marshmallow Creme
Chocolate Glaze*

Mix and bake basic brownies according to the package directions. While still warm, drop spoonfuls of Marshmallow creme over the top. Let sit a few minutes and then slowly work to spread the creme until the entire top is frosted. Then take the chocolate glaze and drizzle across the top in one direction (lengthwise). Using a knife, lightly pull through the drizzles (width-wise) to create the marbled look. Let set before cutting. For "cleanest" cutting I like to use my big pizza cutter, wiped clean with a damp cloth after each cut.

I usually look to see what I have on hand. You could use Hershey Chocolate Syrup, although for brownies it's a bit too messy to handle. I prefer to heat a tub of chocolate frosting (which I almost always have sitting in my fridges) for about 30 seconds. Stir and then drizzle. I have also used melted chocolate chips before. But my new fave find is this ~ Check it out! ~
Duncan Heinz "Amazing Glazes". It's basically the same as the frosting. Except you heat it, shake and pour straight from the bottle. So there you have it, an easy recipe and a product review all in one! :) Happy baking!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bacon-Cheese Coleslaw

My kids don't really care for "regular" coleslaw. But when I make this, there are never leftovers. I've become quite the coleslaw snob after my family got used to eating it this way. Enjoy!

1 pkg shredded cabbage/coleslaw mix
1 1/2 C Mayo
1 C Sugar
1 Tbsp vinegar
onion salt, to taste
a few dashes celery seed, optional
6 pieces bacon, fried & crumbled
1 C finely shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese

Empty coleslaw mix into salad bowl. In small bowl, mix remaining ingredients, except bacon & cheese. Pour over coleslaw mix and toss well to coat evenly. Add bacon pieces and cheese and toss again. Store covered in fridge until ready to serve.

My shortcut tips:
I always buy the coleslaw mix because it already has the bits of carrots and I'm lazy like that. Also, I buy the package of precooked bacon and just "crisp" it in the microwave 45-60 seconds. Again, because I'm lazy like that. Haha.

I also "toss" my salad in a storage container with a lid or a gallon size Ziploc bag. Much more evenly disbursed on the dressing.

Also, I have used light Mayo and Splenda with this in the past and it was very good. I will also often substitute Apple Cider Vinegar for regular, just depending on what I have on hand. Something about the combination of the apple and bacon...Mmmm.

BBQ Pork Skewers

3-5 lbs Country Style Spare Ribs, boneless
1/2 C Italian Salad Dressing, more or less
1/2 C Soy Sauce, more or less
BBQ Sauce

If using bamboo skewers, soak skewers in warm water for about an hour. Using sharp knife, carefully cut meat into 1" thick strips. Place sliced meat in gallon size Ziploc bag or container. Mix together equal parts Italian Dressing and Soy Sauce. I usually start with 1/2 C of each and add more of each if needed. You want enough of the marinade to cover meat. Let meat soak about 20-30 minutes or longer in fridge if desired. Thread meat onto skewers, doubling up on the smaller pieces. Place meat on grill over med-high heat and brush with remaining marinade, turning a few times. During the last few minutes of grilling, I like to brush on the BBQ sauce and grill a little more on each side.

tip: Even though the meat is on skewers, I still turn the meat with tongs, as bamboo skewers may break when handled while warm.