Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

Ice Cream! Ice Cream! We all scream for ice cream! It's summertime and everyone loves to cool off with ice cold ice cream. Here's a great ice cream cake from Cooking Light to try. My niece made this while visiting and it was delicious! It takes a little more time but well worth it.

Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

Cooking Spray
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup boiling water
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
3 cups low fat peppermint ice cream, softened
3 cups frozen fat free whipped topping, thawed
1/8 tsp peppermint extract
8 peppermint candies, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat 2 (8 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray, line bottom of each pan with wax paper.

Combine cocoa, water, and butter, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cool.

Combine sugars in a large bowl, stirring well until blended. Add egg subsitute; beat 2 mintues or until light and creamy. Add cocoa mixture, and beat for 1 minute.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to bowl; beat for 1 minute or until blended. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans. Wrap in plastice wrap, and freeze for 2 hours or until slighly frozen.

Spread ice cream in an 8 inch round cake plan lined with plastic wrap. Cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm.

To assemble cake, place one cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake pedestal. Remove ice cream layer from freezer; remove plastic wrap. Place ice cream layer, bottom side up, on top of cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer.

Combine whipped topping and peppermint extract, and stir until blended. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with crushed peppermintes. Freeze until ready to serve. Let cake stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Light Pasta Salad

Here is a great pasta recipe for your next summer barbeque. It is nice and light and you won't have to worry about it spoiling since it doesn't have any mayo in it . Enjoy!

11 ounces bow tie pasta
3 gloves garlic
9 ounces yellow cherry tomatoes
9 ounces red cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1 handful black olives
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1 handful fresh basil
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly gound black pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the past and garlic, and simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until al dente, and drain.

Put the garlic to one side for the dressing. Put the pasta in a bowl.

Cut the tomatoes, cucumber, and black olives into small pieces, about half the size of the pasta, and place in the bowl. Roughly chop the herbs and place these in the container.

Using a fork mash the cooked garlic cloves on the board with a little salt, add to the salad.

Add the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper - mix well and chill.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tasty Turkey Burgers

I made some great turkey burgers over the weekend. I had never had them before much less made them - but I keep thinking I should probably start to eat more healthy. I was a little leary that they wouldn't turn out so well. Fortunately they turned out great and very moist - from what I've heard turkey burgers can run on the dry side. My family wanted cheese on theirs but I just topped it with a slice of tomato and it was delicious!

Tasty Turkey Burgers

1 tbsp chopped green onion
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 lb ground turkey.

Mix together the first six ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix until combined. Shape into patties. Then grill for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. The patties may seem pretty wet - but they will cook up just fine. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Marinades, Brines & Rubs for Grilling

Sometimes meats need a little extra love before they are ready for the grill. Marinades, brines and rubs are sometimes just the thing you need.

Marinades are simply flvaor infusing liquids. Besides using herbs, condiments, oils and spices, marinades typically include an acid, such as wine, vinegar, or lemon juice. The acid helps to tenderize the meat and balances out the sweet or spice flavors. Marinades are best for tougher cuts of meat. Remember to always marinade in the refrigerator and if you want to serve your marinade as dipping sauce be sure to bring it to a rolling boil first. This will remove any contamination from the raw meat.

Brines are salty solutions in which lean meats soak. They help meats retain moisture, so they stay juicy and tender during grilling. Sugar, spices and herbs are sometiems added to the liquid as well. Meats should be soaked in a large container so the meat is completely covered without allowing it to float in the solution. Store in refrigerator. Prior to grilling, be sure to rinse the meat to remove any excess salt and then dry with a paper towel.

Rubs are seasoning mixtures that can be applied to meats prior to grilling. Rubs add a spice or smoky flavor to meat. The best rubs often contain strong and mild spices and herbs that enhance the flavor of the meat without being overbearing. When oil or another wet substance is included in the rub recipe, it is called a wet rub. A little moisture helps the rub adhere to the meat. Letting a rub sit on the meat anywhere from 30 minutes to over night allows the spices to permeate the meat.

In the days to come I will list some marinade, rub and brine recipes for you try. Hopefully these will help spice up your grilling.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Heating Up the Grill

Now that grilling season is in full swing I thought I would a new tip I learned. Preheating the grill is important so you can get the right temperature. Most gas grills come equipped with thermometers to tell you exactly what heat you are working with. However, I recently read a new way to tell the temp of your grill. Really it is an old fashioned way - needless to say I like the idea.

You hold your hand approximately 6 inches above the spot where the food will be cooking, and begin counting how many seconds you can keep your hand in this position. Here is the breakdown

High Heat: 3 seconds or 500 F

Medium High Heat: 5 seconds or 400 F

Medium Heat: 7 seconds or 350 F

Medium Low Heat: 10 seconds or 325 F

Low Heat: 12 seconds or 300F

Tune in tomorrow where I will write about marinades and rubs for grilling.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas

I received my FREE Kraft Food and Family quarterly magazine today. It has some really great ideas for summer recipes. The one shown below uses leftover grilled chicken. Whenever I grill chicken I throw a few extras on so I can make recipes like this. It saves a ton of time.

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cooked small chicken breasts, shredded
1 cup salsa, divided
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup cheddar and monterey jack cheese, divded
8 flour torillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 2 min. Add chicken, 1/4 cup salsa, the cream cheese, cilantro and cumin; mix well. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese; mix well.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture onto each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-side down, in 13 x 9 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining 3/4 cup salsa and remaining shredded cheese.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 4 servings, 2 enchiladas each.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chili Sauce Chicken on the Grill

Grilling season is upon us - FINALLY! I thought the warm weather would never come - even now we still have some cool days here in the midwest. Grilling is great - not only does a grill make dinner quick but it's easy to cook an entire meal without heating up the kitchen. Also, fewer pots and pans to clean - always a plus in my house. Anyway - here is a great chicken recipe to try on the grill from one of my old Quick Cooking magazines.

1 bottle (12 oz) chili sauce
1/3 cup white wine or chicken broth - I prefer wine and if you know me you'd know why
1/4 cup olive oil
10 to 12 garlic cloves, minced (yes - 10 to 12 is correct)
4 1/2 tsps dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
8 chicken thighs

In a large relsealable plastic bag, combine the first seven ingredients; mix well. Remove 1/3 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate. Add chicken to bag; seal and turn to coat. Chill for at least 2 hours - the longer the better.
Drain and discard marinade from chicken. Grill, covered, skin side down, over medium heat for 20 minutes. Baste with some of the reserved marinade. Turn; grill 10 minutes longer or until chicken juices run clear, basting frequently.