Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"K " is for Key Lime Bites and Key West

Back in our early years of our marriage, my husband I flew to Florida and drove all over the state.  We took the impressive ride on the Overseas Highway to Key West.  We spent a few nights in Key West Florida and discovered key limes.  Key West is famous for Key Lime Pie.  I came home with a bottle of key lime juice in my suitcase!  I had never had key limes or key lime juice before.  Now, key limes are readily available and I still love them.  They are more acidic than persian limes, the normal limes.

I put together this recipe called "Key Lime Bites" after being disappointed with other key lime cookies.  I wanted the strong tangy flavor of key limes, not just a mere trace of flavor! 

Notes:  These are the kind of cookies that just taste better the next day after baking.  The cookies I have pictured are a tablespoon-sized.  If you want even more key lime flavor, you could make the cookies smaller.   

Key Lime Bites

Cookie Ingredients and Directions
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons key lime juice
2 teaspoons grated key lime peel
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped macadamian nuts

In a medium bowl with electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, key lime juice and peel until mixture is creamy and fluffy.  Next add flour and salt and beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Add macadamian nuts to dough mixture by hand.  Roll dough into one inch balls and space about two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Place cookies on a wire rack and cool for about 5 minutes.  Ice cookies according to directions below.  Key limes do not provide much grated peel.  You could cheat and grate peel from a persian lime.

Icing Ingredients and Directions
1/4 cup key lime juice
1 teaspon grated key lime peel
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix key lime juice and peel and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Dip cooled cookies in icing ingredients.  After dipping, place on wire rack to dry.  Dip another time in icing and place on wire rack to dry.  Makes about 18 cookies. 

I am posting this with Alphabe-Thursday.  Click on below to read other "K" posts.

Jenny Matlock

I am also posting this with Michael at Foodie Friday.

Tablescape Thursday: Caliente Dinner for Two

My kids are on spring you kids, but today my table is just for that will be happening!  I remember those long ago days when there WERE just two of us at the table.  The memories are so sweet. Yet, I know it won't be long before we WILL again just have a table for two -- and then I won't like it.  It will be just TOO quiet!!! 

I do like sitting around the table with everyone there and just gabbing and laughing.  This St. Patrick's Day we had our usual corned beef dinner, but for various reasons only Tati (the food blogger) and I sat down to dinner together that night.  Because everyone was gone, Tati said, "This is the worst St. Patrick's Day ever!"  I had to agree!

My 15 years old son, found these "caliente" plates at the Dollar Store when we were out of town.  Sadly, there were only two of them, but they were only fifty cents a piece!  I love them and built this simple table for two around them.  Imagine having a spicy latin dish with a citrusy tart for dessert.

I am posting this with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.  Click on the image above to find amazing tablescapes.

Shopping List:
Caliente plates -- 50 cents at the Dollar Store
Placemats and Napkins -- on clearance at Wal-Mart just a few weeks ago
Napkin Holders -- after Christmas clearance at Wal-Mart
Silverware -- Wal-Mart
Green Stemware -- Dollar Store
Iced Tea Glasses -- Wal-Mart

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

April Fool's Day Food: Mock Sushi

Ever since my children were young, I have tried to do some sort of food-related April Fool's Day joke.  I have done the chocolate rice krispy meatloaf, the ice cream and butter scotch potatoes and gravy, and the green beans made out of candy.  If I was short on time, I did an empty pizza box, candy box or jello in a glass.  Then there was the time I made peas and carrots out of candy.  When I went to put them on my son's plate, and they made a dinging sound, he knew they were fake.  They are on to me now.  My oldest is almost sixteen and my youngest is nine.  Even though now they are older, I think they would be a bit disappointed if I didn't do something! 

I found this year's mock sushi, as well as most of my April Fool's Day food jokes from the magazine Family Fun.  You can link to their post on Mock Sushi at Family Fun.  They even have a tutorial.  These are not that hard to make; you just have to work with them a bit to to shape them.    I like the fact that I can just pull them out and serve them.  There will be no preparation time in front of the very kids that I am trying to fool.  I will be serving a stir-fry on April Fool's Day along with the Mock Sushi.  I hope you enjoy them! 

1/4 cup butter
4 cups mini marshmallows -- You may want to add a little more, my rice krispies were a bit dry.
6 cups crisped rice cereal
20 to 25 gummy worms
1 to 2 boxes of fruit leather -- I used all red.  There are a lot of different colors you could use.

Grease a 12 by 17 inch jelly roll pan.  Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the marshmallows until smooth and melted.  Remove marshmallow mixture from stove and stir in the rice cereal and stir until the cereal is coated and evenly distributed.  Press the mixture in the jelly roll pan.

 Starting at the short end of the jelly roll pan, 1 inch from the edge of the pan, place a line of gummy worms.  Then roll the rice krispies from the edge of the pan and around the worms. 

The gummi worms are rolled up!

Then stop and cut the log away from the rest of the rice krispies in the pan.  Cut the log into one inch segments and wrap each log in fruit leather.  Make sure that each little sushi has a filling (the worm) showing.  You will need to shape each one for looks. Then continue the same process until the end of the pan.

I am posting with Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.  I am also posting with Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fiesta Crostada

My children get out for spring break this week, how about yours?  We are all so anxious for a break!  This recipe is so simple to make and makes a perfect quick meal for when the kids are home during spring break.  If you use the "already made" pie crust from the refrigerated section, this recipe has just six ingredients!  I am a lover of cilantro and anything with cilantro makes it "mo-better" for me.


This recipe makes 2 crostadas.

Pie Crust -- enough for 1 (9 inch double crust) pie. 
2 cans (12.5 ounce) cooked chicken
1/2 to 2/3 cup cheddar cheese
1 package dry ranch dressing
1 can mild Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Chile, drained
1/2 cup chopped cilantro plus cilantro to garnish

Place pie crusts on baking sheet.  Mix chicken, ranch dressing, cilantro, and Ro-Tel together.  Take one half of mixture and place in the center of each pie crust.  Take excess pie crust and gently fold over the top, not covering the center, of the chicken mixture.  If you want to get fancy you can fold as you go.    Place cheese on center, not covered by pie crust.  Bake in a 350 oven for 25-30 minutes.  Garnish with cilantro.

This recipe was adapted from the Picky Palate food blog.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicken Satay With Spicy Peanut Sauce

I have made this satay for years.  I first made it for my husband's graduation party when he received his Master's Degree in engineering.  I was almost seven months pregnant (with Tati the food blogger) and we had over 20 people at the party.  I also served another satay and an ice cream torte both of which I had never made before.  That wasn't very smart of me, but thankfully everything turned out.   

I like to give credit where credit is due, but I simply don't know where I acquired this recipe.  I love the peanut sauce; it is spicy, but not overpowering.  We made this over the weekend and just like my grandma Ida used to say "many hands make light work!"  My husband cut up the chicken, put it on skewers and barbequed it.  My daughter Tati made the peanut sauce.  Me?  I just made the marinade and supervised!

This is my Foodie Friday entry for the party hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum.  You can find more wonderful food at Foodie Friday here: 

I have also linked this recipe to Food on Fridays here:


Marinate 2-3 pounds chicken that has been cut up into 1-inch breast pieces in the following for about one hour.

Marinade Recipe
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons minced peeled ginger
3 teaspoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons coriander -- I never use this, but I do garnish with cilantro
3 teaspoons lime juice
1-1/2 teaspoons red chili paste -- you can find this in the Asian section of your grocery store

Soak about 12 bamboo skewers in water for about 1/2 hour.  Pierce 5-6 pieces of chicken on each bamboo skewer.  Grill until browned on each side; this does not take very long. 

The skewers happily cooking on the grill.  My husband grilled the skewers and my heart went "a-flutter" when I saw HIM taking pictures of the chicken skewers!!

Spicy Peanut Sauce Recipe

Step 1:
6 tablespoons minced onion
3 teaspoons peanut oil
In a medium saucepan saute the onion with the peanut oil for about 1-2 minutes on medium heat.

Step 2:
3 teaspoons red chile paste
1 cup chicken stock
3 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons shredded coconut
Add the chile paste, stock, soy sauce, and coconut to the onions and peanut oil and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat.

Step 3:
9 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
9 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons lime juice
Add the peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice to the sauce pan (with all the other ingredients)  and blend and simmer gently for about 2-3 minutes.  Keep warm.

Serve warm peanut sauce with the chicken skewers.  This recipe will serve about 6-8 people.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kind of Funny "J" is For Jell-O Easter Egg Story

My Jell-O Egg in Half -- NOT very appealing!

I am submitting this post to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is "J."  You can find other "J" posts by placing your cursor on the link below and clicking on the displayed link.

Jenny Matlock
When we were young, my mother would make dyed Easter eggs by putting two holes in an egg, one in the top and a larger hole in the bottom.  You would blow in the top hole and, hopefully, the white and the yolk would come out in the bottom.  Then you would dye the eggs.

At least one Easter, after blowing out the yolk and white, my mother poured Jell-O in the eggs and refrigerated them.  After the Jell-O became solid, she peeled off the shell and voila....Jell-O eggs!  So on Easter Sunday she brought out the Jell-O eggs and instead of eating them, the kids played catch outside with the Jell-O eggs!  Or did we just throw them at each other?

Okay, here is the kind of funny part with a caveat...I AM getting older and maybe my memory is not quite right!   That next fall when we were raking leaves in the same area where we had thrown the eggs, we found some of the Jell-O from the eggs still in tact! Mind you, I lived in Wisconsin with hot, humid, wet summers!  Okay, so could this really be possible or am I losing it?  What do you think?  I asked my scientist-type husband if he thought it could be possible and his very scientific answer was "maybe!"

A few years ago the Jell-O company made a contraption for Jell-O eggs.  As you can see from the picture above, I haven't had a lot of success with it; the contraption tends to break the eggs in half when you open it!  Forget the Jell-O, I am sticking with chocolate eggs!

Tablescape Thursday: Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit's Easter Tablescape

Mr. Rabbit invited you to an Easter Luncheon!  Did you receive your invitation to join them at "Rabbit Hill?"  Will you come?

Mrs. Rabbit is also anxious for your arrival!

They want to show you their egg holder collection that is soooo sweet. They are singing "First you put you shoesies oh so tight, then you swing them to the left, then you swing them to the right..."

Then they want to show you where you will be sitting.

Yes, yes, they put out their best silver for you!

Yes, others are won't be alone!

Okay, they will give you an overhead angle view of the table to tempt you to come!

You don't want to sit at the place with the duckie shoes egg holder?  You want to sit at the place with the tennis shoes egg holder?  No, no, there are no placecards, you may sit there.
No, no, the chocolate looking bunnies are NOT edible!  Now, put that down please!  You don't want to offend Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit!
No, there will be no hare on the menu, Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit are a little sensitive about hare on the menu!  However, there will be DUCK!!!  His name is Quax and he is made out of chocolate!

Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit are glad that you accepted the invitation to drop by for lunch!

I am posting this with Susan at Between Naps at the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.  Take a stroll over there to get inspiration for tablescaping!  You can click on the link below.

Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit's Table Setting Information:
Turquoise Plates -- bought at the dollar store a few years ago.
White Salad Plates  -- bought this year at Smith's grocery story.
White Square Plates -- Tai Pan Trading several years ago.
Silverware -- Damask Rose pattern by Oneida -- wedding present from my parents.
Napkins -- bought at Wal-Mart on clearance just a few days ago -- 50 cents a piece.
Ice Tea Glasses -- bought at Wal-Mart
Egg Holders -- bought at a local grocery store (Harmon's) several years ago...wish I bought more!
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny --- bought at Costco several years ago.
Candleholder --- bought at K-Mart on season's clearance two years ago.
Covered Dome Candy Dish -- bought at Target several years ago.
Chocolate looking bunnies -- bought at local grocery store (Harmon's) and the Dollar Store several years ago.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sticky Finger Chicken Salad

Here in the high desert of Utah (5700 ft.), the wind is howling and it is cold!  I should be serving soup instead of a salad...

This is a copycat recipe for Winger's Sticky Finger Chicken Salad.  Winger's is a chain restaurant in Utah, and maybe other states too.  I found this recipe in the craft magazine, the Country Register.   The author of the recipe has a website which you can link to here:  If you buy already breaded and cooked chicken, it is a very fast meal.  What makes this salad stand out, is the dressing on the chicken!  This is a popular meal with my family; I am happy to share it with you!

Two to three chicken breasts (or about one pound Tyson chicken), breaded and baked until done.  I buy the Tyson chicken patties already cooked and breaded chicken that you find in the meat department (much easier!)

Two to three tomatoes, diced
Lettuce (I use Romaine)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (or less if it is strong)
Ranch Dressing

Mock Winger's Dressing:
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup Franks Hot Sauce -- I find this in Wal-Mart
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine all dressing ingredients in sauce pan.  Stirring constantly on medium high heat, boil for one minute.  If you cook mixture longer than one minute it will turn hard like candy. 

Cut breaded, cooked chicken up in small pieces and place on jelly roll pan.  At Winger's they cut the chicken in finger-sized portions; I like to cut them in smaller sized-pieces.  Pour sauce over chicken and heat in a 350 degree oven until chicken is warm.   

Chicken and Dressing Before Going into Oven
Put lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and croutons in large salad bowl.  Put sticky finger chicken on top and mix.  Serve with Ranch Dressing. 

Note:  Depending on the amount of stickiness you want and the amount of chicken you are using, you may want to halve the dressing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Easter Stamped Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies Dipped in Chocolate

I am posting, for the first time, at Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays here:
I am also posting at Tasty Tuesday here:

These are super easy and fun to make.  There is no chilling or rolling of dough.  The brown sugar adds a slight caramel flavor and if you don't overbake them, they are soft.  This is very fun to do with kids!  You will need cookie stamps like I have pictured below.  These stamps are from Wilton;  I believe they have discontinued some of their cookie stamps, but they are still available on E-bay.  You can also buy ceramic stamps from the Rycraft Company here.  They have an incredible selection of ceramic stamps.

1 cup softened butter -- do not use margarine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
White, milk, or dark chocolate for dipping.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Beat the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla, then beat in the salt.  On low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until incorporated.  Roll dough into balls and stamp on cookie sheet.  You may need to dip the stamp in powdered sugar if you are having sticking problems.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Watch carefully so that you don't overbake!  I love a moist shortbread.  Cool cookies on wire rack. After cooling you can melt chocolate in the microwave and spread chocolate on the backs of the cookies with a knife or small spatula or dip the backs in a bowl of chocolate.  Place on wire rack until chocolate dries.  This recipe makes almost 2 dozen cookies.

Cookies Cooling on Rack

Chocolate Drying

This recipe has been slightly adapted from a recipe contained in Mary Engelbreit's "Tis the Season Holiday Cookbook."  I made the shortbread into individual cookies and added the chocolate on the back.  You can purchase this book at Amazon here:.

I have posted this recipe with the following:

Skip to My Lou's :Made By You Monday
Keeping it Simple's: Motivate Me Monday

Friday, March 19, 2010

Best Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have made these cookies for several years.  They are from  I really do love these cookies...a chocolate base with chocolate chips and nuts.  It is like a brownie cookie.  They are simple to make and are great to pack in cookie jars or school lunches.

1 cup margarine -- I used butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips -- I used milk chocolate 
1 cup walnuts -- I added this

In a medium bowl, cream sugars with butter until smooth.    Beat in the eggs, one at a time and add vanilla.  Add baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.  Next add flour, one cup at a time, beat in well.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  Roll tablespoons of dough into rounds and bake at 375 degree (I used 350) oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  Do not overbake!  Cool on wire rack for 2 minutes.  When I made this recipe today, it made about 42, small-sized, cookies. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken Ole

This is a simple recipe I put together.  It's great for a night when you are really pushed to get dinner on the table.  You can bake it ahead of time and rewarm it and no harm done.  There are no fussy ingredients.  Yes, the rice is a little bit funny colored.  It is Zatarain's Dirty Rice; we love it!  I will be posting this with Michael at Foodie Friday.

4-5 chicken breasts
2 cups sour cream -- I used low-fat
1 cup salsa -- I used Pace (mild)
1/2 cup cilantro, leaves only
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package taco seasoning
Rice -- I used Zatarain's Dirty Rice

Combine taco seasoning with sour cream, salsa, cilantro, and minced garlic, stir well.  Place chicken breasts in 9 x 13 pan.  Pour sauce mixture over.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes -- depending on thickness of chicken.  Serve over rice. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Let's Mambo Tablesetting!

This is the relatively new "Mambo" pattern available at the Dollar Store.  You can purchase plates, bowls, and mugs and sadly no dessert or salad plates...sigh.  I love the vivid colors; it is available in another pattern scheme with more yellow!  The Dollar Store website says "Nothing says caliente more than the bright blue hues of these dishes...." I really DO love these dishes...and what a bargain!  I have used them a ton already...they do just say party!  The dishes are great with Latin or maybe even Italian or African food.  The plates definitely add color to the table.  I will share my Chicken Ole recipe, served on these plates, tomorrow for Foodie Friday. 

I am participating at Tablescape Thursday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.  It is a great place for dishaholics.  You can access Tablescape Thursday with the button at the end of my posting.

I like the bright napkins with these plates...they also say let's party!

This is an overhead shot...lucky for me I didn't fall off the chair...highlighting the candles and candlesticks.

I love the clear glassware with the bright plate colors.
One more view...

Shopping Information:

Plates, Bowls, and Green Stemware:  Dollar Store -- the last time I was at my Dollar Store all of these were available.
Iced Tea Glasses, Red Placemats, Silverware, Salad Plates, and Napkin Ring Holders --all from Wal-Mart
Napkins:  Gift from my sister-in-law Camille
Candlesticks and Candles:  Gift from my sister Jackie