Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Husband's Favorite: Peanut Butter Balls

When my husband was growing up, many Sundays his family would make Peanut Butter Balls.  Last Saturday night while we were grocery shopping, he mentioned that he would like to have Peanut Butter Balls for dessert on Sunday.  He told me that, as a kid, he used to make these by himself.  It is the only recipe that he knows by heart!  So my daughters made him some Peanut Butter Balls on Sunday.  Our oldest son Dustin loves them too.

Recipe for Peanut Butter Balls

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
1-1/3 cups peanut butter
7 cups Rice Krispies, Special K, or Corn Flakes cereal

Place all ingredients, except cereal in a medium sauce pan.  Place cereal in large mixing bowl and set aside.  Stir together the ingredients in the sauce pan and heat on medium heat.  Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently,  until mixture boils.  When it boils, take sauce pan off heat and pour the mixture onto the cereal.  Mold into balls.

Red Couch Recipes Notes:

1.  Do not use natural peanut butter in this recipe, especially the "stir" kind. 
2.  We used Corn Flakes, but my mother-in-law things Special K is best.
3.  Make sure you stir while cooking so that the mixture doesn't brown on the bottom of the pan.
3.  Butter your hands before you mold the balls.
4.  These are best eaten within a few hours (that is never a problem at my home ;).  They tend to harden up a bit if they are not eaten within a few hours.

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bacon and Parmesan Pasta

So glad you chose to drop by Red Couch Recipes.  This has quickly become a family favorite at the Red Couch home.  One night, awhile ago, I had some onions and tomatoes in my fridge that I needed to use.  I used these two ingredients as the base for my recipe inspiration and voila, a recipe was created.  This recipe whips up quickly in about 35 minutes and is very tasty!  I love the smoky flavor the turkey bacon provides.  It's a good clean-out the fridge recipe, as you could easily add some other vegetables that you need to use up.

Bacon Parmesan Pasta Sauce

1 pound turkey bacon
3 cups diced Roma tomatoes
3 cups diced onions (mild)
2 cloves garlic, minched finely
2 cups fat-free half and half (reserve 1/2 cup to combine with flour)
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese (reserve the 1/4 cup to garnish the pasta)
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
1 pound Penne pasta

The onions -- yum!

The Roma Tomatoes keep their shape.  There are so many vegetables packed into this recipe, but my children don't seem to mind them at all!

1.  Cut up bacon into small pieces, and add bacon to dutch oven. Cook bacon on medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until done. 
2.  Add the onions and garlic to the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes until the onions are clear. 3.  Next add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. 
3.  Add the 1-1/2 cups half and half to the dutch oven and stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine the reserved 1/2 cup half and half and the flour and stir to mix, and then add this to the pasta mixture, stirring well to combine. 
4.  Next, add the 1 cup Parmesan cheese. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook on the stovetop, stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes to reduce and thicken mixture. 
5.  While the pasta sauce is reducing, bring the penne pasta to boil in a large pot and cook to al dente. Drain the pasta. 
6.  Combine the pasta sauce and the drained hot pasta in a large serving bowl and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

  • Red Couch Recipe Notes:
    I always use Turkey Bacon; I love it that it so much lower in fat than regular bacon, and I love its smoky flavor. I use shredded Parmesan cheese, not finely ground Parmesan cheese. Fat-free half and half is available in most grocery stores, including Wal-Mart.  Yield:  6 servings. 

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vegetable Jars

Like most people, I need to get more vegetables into my diet.  It just seems that other things like chips and crackers are easier to grab.  The other day I was reading our local paper and I came upon an article by Diann Thomas.  She has been writing about her successful weight loss; she included the tip about packing vegetables in canning jars.  To me, this idea was genious!

  Who doesn't have canning jars they could pack with vegetables?  Or if you don't have any canning jars, compared to other glass containers, they really are quite inexpensive to purchase.

"Mom, can I have some celery?" Yes, that was just my daughter asking for some celery.  SERIOUSLY, I wish you could have heard her!  Putting prepared vegetables in jars works because they look appealing in the jars, and you can see the vegetables. They aren't just stuffed away in the vegetable bins of the fridge.

I know I post a lot of desserts on Red Couch Recipes, but we do like our vegetables too.  Thanks for dropping by today.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine Box Tablescape

Happy Belated Valentine's Day from Red Couch Recipes!  We hope you had a wonderful day.

This was my daughter's Valentine box from last year.  She made a romantic Valentine Breakfast for Two.  Each year at her school, except this year, they hold a Valentine Box contest. She did win some kind of award for her tablescape last year.

How would you like waffles, an ice cream cone, and candy skewers for breakfast?

This year the school did not sponsor a Valentine Box contest; I guess it was good that she did it up big last year.

I am posting this with Tablescape Thursday.  I bet there are no other tablescapes like this one posted!

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Heart Scones

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes where love is in the air.  You can easily make these heart scones in a jiffy and serve up some love to those you love.

I made homemade pizza on Friday night.  Almost always I double the pizza dough so that I have some leftover dough to make scones.  This is the recipe that I use for pizza dough

Heart-Shaped Pizzas

 Sometimes, I add a little olive oil to the dough.  I ususally make the pizza dough with a mixture of fifty percent white flour and fifty percent whole wheat flour  For the scones, roll out the dough and cut them out.  I usually roll the dough out to a little less than one-half inch.  Of course, you could also use some frozen dough.

These are grilled scones or pan-fried scones like my mother used to make back in Wisconsin when I was a child.  Here in the west they deep fry scones, but I always have loved pan fried scones.  I use my panini grill to grill them.  This was the grill that my husband thought I would never use!  I place the heart dough, with a little bit of olive oil or butter on it, then I allow it to cook a few minutes before I bring down the cover. 

Serve the scones with some butter and perhaps a little jam and you are ready for a lovelyValentine's Day treat.

Posted with the following:  Met Monday, Made By You Monday, Make It Yourself Monday

Friday, February 10, 2012

Love Blocks

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes, where love is in the air.  I recently helped the 10 cutest girls in the world (my church Activity Day girls) make these Love Blocks to give away to someone they love.  They formed LOVE with their bodies.  I cut 3 x 3 blocks of wood from 2 x 4's.  The girls sanded the blocks, painted the blocks, and then applied Modge Podge to the blocks.

Isn't my daughter a cute one?





Make some for someone you love today!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love is in the Air!

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes to my Love is in the Air Tablescape!

Love was in the air for me almost 24 years ago when my husband and I married on February 12.  Our whole wedding was built upon a Valentine's theme.  We were living in the foothills of Northern California and cut down two manzanita trees, painted them white, and decorated them with red hearts.  The decorated manzanita trees really did look beautiful lit up at night at the wedding reception.  I still have some of the hearts that adorned those trees.

My sister Jacqueline, a.k.a. Dish Fairy, gave me these heart dishes last year after Valentine's Day.  I love them!  I got the idea for the name Dish Fairy from Tricia, Dull and Dutiful Blog, who calls her sister the Dish Fairy.

Take another look at the clean and simple heart-shaped dishes.

These are the cookies that I made for my family, and then made more dough for my Activity Day Girls (church girls) to make when they came to my house today.  They are so fun and Valentiney.  You can click HERE for the recipe and technique I used.

The ruby goblets are King's Crown, another gift from the Dish Fairy.  My Aunt Ionia had a set like these and always used them at Christmas.  I think it was these goblets that started my love for pretty dishes.  The bowls are from Michael's last year.

A side view of the tablesetting.

I have used these happy plaid napkins on lots of tables as well as the cream napkin rings.  I purchased the napkin rings from Karin at the Style Sisters.  She is back blogging after her big move.  Stop in and say welcome back. 

I love the look of clear glass on a table! 

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's with those you love.  My father always gave his children  a heart-shaped box full of chocolates.  I have such fond memories of Valentine's Day though the years, and we would have been married on Valentine's Day, but it fell on a Sunday the year we were married.

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vivid Valentine Sugar Cookies

A very vibrant welcome to Red Couch Recipes!  There's almost no better way to celebrate a holiday than making sugar cookies.  I had such fun "playing"  and making these cookies "knock your socks off" colored cookies. The No Fail Sugar Cookie recipe I have included is a wonderful dough to work with.  I felt like I was in preschool playing with play dough.  Just add paste food coloring in the desired colors.  I chose red and purple.  The purple color  is so vibrant and alive.

I first started making cutouts like these hearts waiting to be baked.

Then I started getting creative making striped cookies.

Then, I started using the scraps to make the groovy cookies pictured at the top.  You just mush all your scraps together, flatten the dough, and roll the cookies out.  I think they are my favorite.

I have included the recipe for the No Fail Sugar Cookies.  I don't know the original source of this recipe, but I first found it on Sue, Munchkin Munchies, wonderful website.  It has become my favorite sugar cookie recipe...think frozen cookies!

No Fail Sugar Cookie Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Mix well.

Roll to desired thick and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or just until beginning to turn brown around the edges. I like to roll them at least 1/4 to 1/3 inch-thick; they just taste so good thick. Also be sure to check them at 8 minutes with the first pan. Most likely, especially if they are thick and large cookies, you will need time, but just to be sure, check them early.
Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes!

Posted with I'm Lov'n It, Foodie Fridays, Weekend Wrapup, Met Monday, Made By You Monday

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Meyer Lemon Cream Cake

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes!

This is a little cake that I made recently for a work party and also for a Sunday dinner dessert.  It is such a sweet little cake and tastes divine warmed up in the microwave.  My favorite part of the cake is the whipped cream and lemon curd filling and topping -- just so sweet and tart and yummy.  You would think that something so delicious as lemon curd would have a more appealing name.  There is just something about the word curd..
 The cake is made with Meyer lemons.  If you haven't tried them, you should try them.  They taste like a mix of lemon and orange and they are juicy, but they are not as tart as traditional lemons.   Would you chocolate lovers hate me if I say that I like lemon desserts better than chocolate?  It's true!  I am a big citrus fan!  If you can't find Meyer lemons, traditional lemons will still be delicious.

 Meyer Lemon Cake Recipe
Recipe adapted from Silver Palate Cookbook

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
Grated zest of 4 Meyer lemons
1 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh Meyer Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.  I always use Baker's Joy when making cakes. Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar, beating until light. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, and the lemon zest. Mix the flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients alternately with the lemon juice to the batter. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until sides of  cake pull away from the pans or until cake tester comes out clean.  Place cakes on cooling rack and take out of pans after 10 minutes.  Cool and then top with lemon cream below.

Lemon Curd Cream

=Mix one part lemon curd with 1 part freshly whipped cream.  You wouldn't want to make this with an artificial whipping cream!  I used 2/3's ciup lemon curd and 2/3's cup whipping cream.  I used Trader Joe's lemon curd as I had some on hand as  Jeannie, my sister, had sent me some in the mail.  The Trader Joe's Lemon Curd is especially delicious.  You can find other brands lemon curd at most stores.  I have used Richardson's Lemon Curd before and it is good.  Spread have of lemon curd cream between the layers of the cake and spread the remaining half of the lemon curd on the top of the cake.  Decorate with a sugared lemon peel.

Notes:  This is a small cake.   There is not a lot of batter to divide between two layers.  My daughter Tati, 15 years-old, loved this cake warmed up in the microwave.  Well, truth be told, she loves all cakes warmed in the microwave. 

Thanks for sitting a spell on my couch.

Posted with the following:

I'm Lovn It, Foodie Friday, Weekend Wrapup, Met Monday, Made By You Monday