Thursday, February 20, 2014

Texas Trash Warm Bean Dip

This recipe is one of those that had floated around on Facebook last year and I wanted to try it because I love Mexican foods and this had all the right ingredients. It also looked super easy (which it was) and quick. While it looked really awful on the plate, it tasted good and the kids loved it. ;)

The only other thing I’d say about it is that it could have used a little more heat. Usually when I make a recipe, if I’m not satisfied that it’s perfect the way it is, I make it again and again, adding this or taking away that, until I feel it’s ready to post. With this one, I felt that all I needed to do was mention it needing a bit more heat. This dish is one you might like to take to a casual gathering, or just make one night for family game night at home.

So, let’s get cooking!

First, cream together the softened cream cheese and sour cream.

Add in the refried beans and the taco seasoning mix and stir well to blend thoroughly.

Shred both the sharp cheddar cheese and the Monterey Jack cheese. I prefer to use extra sharp cheddar cheese myself; I *love* that sharp tang!

Spread the bean mixture in a greased (with cooking spray) 9 X 13” baking dish and layer on top the two cheeses.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Texas Trash Warm Bean Dip

1 8 oz package cream cheese,
1 c sour cream
2 cans refried beans
1 packet taco seasoning mix
2 c sharp cheddar cheese
2 c Monterey Jack cheese
tortilla chips to serve with

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Reese's Peanut Butter Balls

So, Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and according to the Greeting Card Association, it’s the 2nd biggest holiday for cards. For candy sales, Valentine’s Day is the 4th leader. Not as impressive, but $950 million is a pretty hefty sum. When I was growing up, my mom used to make these Reese’s Peanut Butter Balls, and when I had a family of my own, they became a recipe that I made frequently at Valentine’s Day. When I had paper routes, when my daughters were young, I sometimes made them also for the staff at the newspaper office, and they were popular!

I have to admit, they really are so good, and even though I don’t eat a lot of sweets, I can’t help but scarfing a few when I make these! They rival their commercial counterpart in taste and quality. The only adjustment I’ve made to the recipe my mom used is using natural peanut butter, which I prefer for any peanut butter use anyway. Do not be fooled by some of the new “natural” peanut butters in the average grocery stores; read the labels and you’ll see that they have sugar and other ingredients that are not different than regular peanut butters. I use Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter almost exclusively; the only ingredients are peanuts and salt. Because I have found that using a true natural peanut butter with only peanuts and salt as ingredients makes for the best flavor in these treats, that is what I list for the recipe and what I recommend. Take my experience in this matter and use it. If you can‘t trust the lady with the wand in a cooking matter, who can you trust? ;)

So, first measure out your peanut butter and place in a bowl with the softened butter.

Using a mixer, beat together well, making sure there are no lumps.

Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix well using a strong wooden spoon.

Using a 1 oz. scoop, measure out the mixture….

….and roll into balls, placing on a platter or sheet pan. Refrigerate for half an hour or so.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and the wax until smooth. If you don’t have a double boiler, do what I do: use a saucepan on top that is slightly smaller than the pot on the bottom. Fill the bottom pot with enough water to boil but not touch the bottom of the smaller top pot. When the water comes to a boil, lower heat so it keeps to a low boil. Keep stirring the wax and chocolate.

A little bit of information here: you’re using paraffin wax to make the chocolate coating of the candy shiny and able to be handled without just melting from the touch of  your hot little hands. ;) This is what some commercial chocolatiers do.The amount of wax you use can also be individual. When making this recipe, I’ve used as little as ¼ bar and as much as ½ bar (the original measure in the recipe). The amount I came to prefer for keeping melting at bay but keeping it from feeling like you’re chewing a wad of waxy chocolate is about a scant 1/3 bar.

So, using a toothpick poked into the middle of each peanut butter ball, dip them into the melted chocolate/wax mixture.

There will be a small area at the top with no chocolate on it; after they are all dipped, I simply dip a spoon into the melted chocolate/wax mixture and touch the tip of it to the “un-chocolated” spot to cover. You may have to reheat the chocolate/wax mixture as needed.

Serve to your family in whatever way you wish. They can be simply placed on a dish to enjoy, or put in a box or other container. Here is a special heart shaped box (that I made) that you might like to make to showcase them so sweetly: Do It Yourself Valentine's Box. Enjoy! ~TMMF

          Reese's Peanut Butter Balls

          2 c. natural peanut butter
          1/2 c softened butter
          4 c confectioner's sugar (1 lb)
          1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
          1/3 bar parafin wax

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Turkey Soup with Pot Pie Noodles

Everyone likes Turkey Soup, right? Hot, tasty, comforting, especially on a cold winter night. What would happen if you added homemade pot pie noodles to Turkey Soup? Ahhhh, the ultimate comfort food! These homemade noodles are a recipe my Mom made when I was growing up, and I’ve made them for my own family to enjoy too. They are soft, slightly chewy, and out of this world yummy! I hope you’ll like them as much as my family does. This makes a lot, but believe me, you *want* the leftovers!

So, let’s get cooking!

First we start with the Turkey Soup. Place the turkey carcass into a large stockpot and add the water. Boil the living daylights out of it until you have a flavorful stock. I usually bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat but keep it boiling, covered, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Meanwhile, back at the cutting board, work on dicing the Vidalia onions and celery.

Peel and cube the turnip into ¾ inch cubes.

And slice the carrots into ½ inch rounds.

Do nothing to the peas except measure them out. ;)

When the turkey carcass is done, remove the bones, pick any meat from them, and throw the bones away. Cut up the turkey meat from the bones, or turkey meat you've set aside in the refrigerator or freezer for soup. Set aside.

With the stock simmering, add the turnip, cooking for about 20 minutes.

Add the celery, onions, and carrots, cooking for 10 minutes.

Now add the peas, bullion cubes, thyme, and black pepper, cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

Now for the Pot Pie Noodles. Mix the flour and salt together, and cut in the shortening with a pastry knife, fork, or 2 knives.

Ladle out hot stock from the pot of Turkey Soup into a measuring cup, and add to the dry ingredients, mixing well with a wooden spoon.

Sprinkle flour on the table or counter you prefer working on, and roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick.

Cut into squares with a butter knife. It doesn’t matter if they’re not all the same size or anything, as you can see from mine.

With the soup at a rolling boil, drop the noodles one by one right after another into the pot. For the most part, you don’t have to stir right now; the roll of the boiling soup pulls the noodles down and around. When you get them all in, then stir a little. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring a few times.

Add the cut up turkey meat and heat a few minutes. Serve and enjoy! ~TMMF

Turkey Soup

10 c water
Turkey carcass
1 turnip
6 -8 carrots
   (depending on size)
3 stalks celery
1 lg. Vidalia onion
2 c. frozen peas
6-8 bullion cubes
   (skip if using chicken stock in place of water)
1 ½ tsp. thyme
1 tsp black pepper
4 c. turkey meat cut up

Pot Pie Noodles

2 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
¼ c. shortening
2/3 c. hot broth from soup