Make and Take Recipes 2:  Speedy Turtles

After missing yesterday, I'm going to try to give you all 2, yes TWO, easy recipes today.  The other (non sweet) recipe will be posted later tonight, so check back.  I know lots of people will be partying this weekend, so I want to give you some fresh ideas.  These are Speedy Turtles....

They make my heart sing.  They are so extremely yummy.  If you like a candy turtle, you are going to love these fellas.  I had actually forgoteen about them this year until my friend Nicci over at Nix9to5 mentioned she was making them.  I about ran to Wal-Mart to get what I needed, which was only one thing, because I keep everything else on hand.  You gotta love a recipe like that.  Okay, I really wouldn't even call this a "recipe", it is a method, a tasty method. 

Small Twisted Pretzels
Rolos Candy
Pecan Halves

Preheat oven to 300.  Line baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.  Lay out your pretzels, how ever many you want to do.  I did a super small batch because I have so much other candy floating around.  Unwrap your Rolos and place in the middle of each pretzel.  Warm in oven for 2-3 minutes, just until the chocolate gets a little glossy and melty and yummy.  Remove from oven and squish (yes, that is a technical baking term) a pecan half right on top of your melty Rolo.  Allow to cool.  By FAR the hardest part of this "method".  I have been known to speedy up Speedy Turtles by placing the whole sheet pan in my deep freeze at this point so the chocolate will harden quicker.  Once they are cool, enjoy.  And thank me. 

Make and Take Recipes 1:  Toffee Bars
As promised, here I am, sharing some of my favorite recipes for the Holiday season.  I'm going to share some of my old favorites, but I have a new trick or two up my sleeve this year.  This is a newbie, but I'm thinking it share worthy.  These are toffee bars.....
I got the recipe from a post on Simple Saving Savvy and they didn't disappoint.  Here is the recipe:
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup (2 sticks) Softened Butter
1 Egg Yolk
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Toffee Chips (or crushed Heath bars)

Beat sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add in egg yolk, then flour.  Press into a greased jelly roll pan (I actually lined it with waxed paper for easy clean up) and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes until lightly brown.  While still warm, sprinkle chocolate chips on crust and allow to get glossy, then spread over crust with a knife.  Top with toffee chips, cool, cut and serve.

You know I always want to change a recipe, so here are my thoughts.  It is a little too sweet for me.  I packed my brown sugar, but I won't next time.  I also think milk chocolate chips would be better than the semi-sweet ones I used this time.  Oh, and that is WAY not enough chocolate OR toffee.  I probably doubled both. 

I was candy making with some friends and we couldn't stand it and ate them piping hot, right out of the oven.  They are DIVINE hot.  Absolutely divine. 

JWL Cookbook Review 2:  Punchy Sangria
Well, it has been awhile, but I promised more recipe reviews from the Enid JWL cookbooks, "Stir Ups" and "Cooking By the Boot Straps" and I am finally delivering.  This recipe has been a part of my summer for quite a few years and it comes from the "Stir Ups" book. 

The summer before Dustin and I got married Mom, the sisters and I tried several sangria recipes for the wedding.  It was a rough job, but someone had to do it.  This is the one we picked and I've been living on it every summer since.  It is simple and so good you'll be kicking back on the porch relaxing with a tall glass in no time!

12oz. Frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
4 cups Rose Wine
2 cups Club Soda
Juice of one lime
Orange and Lemon slices

Chill all ingredients.  Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a large pitcher, add orange and lemon slices and enjoy!

If you want to make it really great, combine everything but the club soda and let it chill out in the fridge for a few hours.  Right before serving, add the soda and enjoy.  I've even been known to add the club soda by the glass.  Sooooo good on a hot summer day.  Even Dustin likes it, but shhhhh, don't tell anyone. 

I normally use the blush wine in the box (yes, I'm redneck, I'm okay with it, you should be, too), but last time Dustin bought me an actual bottle of rose wine and it was quite tasty and was the perfect amount for two pitchers of sangria. 

Play around with the fruit added to the mix.  Lemons and oranges are standard, but I think wine soaked apples sound yummy and frozen peaches would be the perfect ice cubes. 

Quit relying on me and go purchase your own JWL cookbooks!  You can get both of them for $40 here.  Don't forget to head on over to Facebook and become a fan of Enid JWL.  They are doing an awesome cupcake fundraiser right now that makes me wish I were closer to Enid!

JWL Cookbook Review 1:  Spinach Artichoke Dip/Chicken Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Sisters.  I have two of them.  They are wonderful and great and all of those things you would want in a sister.  They listen to me gripe, talk about fun and exciting things, and live far enough away that I don't get too tired of them.  They actually live only a few miles apart from each other, which sure makes it easy for me when I want to visit.   We are more alike than 3 people should be.  I wish I had a recent picture.  At one point, all three of us were school counselors.  Scary. 
They have both taken their turns being involved in the Junior Welfare League of Enid and a few years back sister A (I couldn't say sister #1 and it wouldn't be nice of me to say the oldest sister), Cindy, brought me one of the JWL cookbooks, "Stir Ups", then a year or two after that she blessed me with "Cooking By the Boot Straps".  I've used both religiously and highly recommend them for anyone who enjoys being in the kitchen.  They are also great reads if you are like me, and read a cookbook like a novel from cover to cover.  Last week, sister B, Kitrena, taking her turn on the cookbook committee, gave me a call and asked if I would review a few of the recipes from the cookbooks. 
Oh.  Darn.  That means I'll have to sacrifice and fix some of these yummy treats.  Dang.  I hate that.  I actually have already featured a spaghetti recipe from "Stir Ups" here.  The first one I'm sharing this time around is Spinach Artichoke Dip featured in "Cooking By the Boot Straps".  Back when I sold Pampered Chef, this was one of my most requested recipes.  I actually had a special PC pan for my dip and sold many of them by telling customers it cooked the dip perfectly.  Sadly, mine was broken in the last move.  I told Dustin it was his fault (it was) and that meant no more dip for him.  He pouted.  This dip is cheesey and gooey and rich and delicious.  Now, rarely do I follow a recipe to the "t", so I'll share the actual recipe first, then share with you how I made it my own. 

8oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Mayo
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1tsp. Garlic Salt
1tsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Pepper
Hot Sauce to taste
10oz. Frozen, Chopped Spinach
2 14oz cans water packed Artichoke Hearts

Using a kitchen towel, squeeze the liquid from the frozen spinach and set aside.  Combine all of the ingredients besides the spinach and artichokes.  Drain and chop the artichokes and add to the mixture then carefully stir in the spinach.  Spoon into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and starting to brown.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Now, I will make the recipe as is the first time, then make my own spin on things after I have the feel for the ingredients.  For this recipe I thought there were too many artichoke hearts, so I just add one can.  Besides, they are expensive.  I have also been known to add chopped red bell pepper to the mix and I think that is very good.  Although I haven't tried it, I think sun dried tomatoes would be a very tasty addition to the party.  I also think it is yummy served with pita chips.

If I have any dip leftover I like to warm the dip in the pan and thin it out with a little chicken stock and I might have been known to add a splash of cream.  Maybe.  I grill a couple of chicken breasts, then slice them up and add them to the mix.   Finally, I cook up some short pasta, like penne, and toss it all together.  If the sauce is still a little thick for you, add in some starchy cooking water from the pasta.  Delicious leftovers!

I'll be sharing more recipes from the JWL cookbooks over the next couple of weeks, but make sure to check out JWL of Enid on their Facebook page or you can order your own copy of "Stir Ups" and "Cooking by the Boot Straps" on their website.  Both for $40, including shipping.  Can't beat that!  Trust me, they are worth it!

Drippy Chocolate Cupcakes
This isn't a real recipe.  And it isn't mine.  But, I loved the picture, so I had to share. 

I love the drippiness they have.  Yes, it is a word.  Really?  It's a yellow cake mix and PW's icing recipe. 
3/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk
2 T. butter
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
Melt in a pan.  Don't boil.  You can let it cool and set up a little bit more like a frosting, or be impatient like me and just poor it on like ganache. 
Oh.  Heavens to Betsy.  These are good.  I'd share, but we ate them all.  Sorry.  No.  Not really. 

Southwest Chicken Salad
This is a summer staple in our house and one of the few salads Dustin actually loves.  For him, it is all about the high quality greens.  None of that iceburg stuff.  This is a twist on a traditional 7 layer salad that my mom used to make when I was living at home, changed to fit our grown up tastes.  It would make for very easy entertaining if you set it up salad bar fashion. 

Chopped Romaine
Torn Spinach Leaves
1 Chicken Breast, butterflied
Taco Seasoning
Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Crushed Tortilla Chips
Shredded Cheddar
Diced Avacado
1 cup Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
1/4 cup Salsa

Butterfly open your chicken breast with a sharp knife.  I actually cut mine all the way through to give me 2 thin breast pieces.  Then sprinkle with Taco Seasoning (my recipe for taco seasoning is all the way at the bottom of this page in the Taco Pie recipe).  Sometimes I brown the chicken in some olive oil, sometimes I grill it.  Either way, delicious. 
Meanwhile, prepare your Black Bean and Corn Salsa.  See recipe below in Spinach Steak Quesadillas (I fix a LOT of Tex Mex!).  I'm going to try using grilled, fresh corn once I get my grill back. 
Tear romaine and spinach into small pieces in a large bowl, or for individual servings, just tear it right into smaller salad bowls.  Once chicken is cooked through, remove to cutting board and allo to rest.  Mix ranch dressing and salsa together and set aside. 
After resting 4-5 minutes slice chicken on the diagonal and assemble salad using all remaining ingredients.  Yummy and easy!  I even like to substitute Fritos sometimes.  mmm. 

Steak and Spinach Quesadillas
As I made some plain'o quesadillas to go with some soup last night, I realized that I had forgotten to share this recipe with you.  This is another "not a recipe recipe".  Who needs a recipe to make a quesadilla?  Everyone knows how to throw some cheese between two tortillas.  These, however were YUMMY.  Quite possibly the best quesadillas I've had....

Here is how I threw them together...
2 Whole Wheat Tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Baby Spinach
1/2 cup Chopped Onion
1/2 cup Chopped Bell Pepper (I like red, yellow or orange)
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
1 cup Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Frozen Corn Kernals
1 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/2 cup, plus or minus, Salsa

First, for the Black Bean and Corn Salsa....Saute the onions and peppers in some olive oil until soft.  Add the garlic right at the don't want it to burn.  Toss in black beans and corn, allow to warm while you grab the salsa from the fridge.  Add salsa and cumin.  Allow to warm through.  Stir in fresh cilantro at the end.  This is yummy all by itself.  I made it up a few years ago to top a SW Chicken Salad.  I'm sure that recipe will make it's debut as the weather warms.  I also use it in these quesadillas and in breakfast burritos.  MMMMMM. 

Now, for the quesadillas...Toss the fajita beef in a pan and allow it to warm through.  Coat one side of a tortilla with cooking spray and throw in a warmed skillet.  Top the tortilla with cheese, beef, spinach, black bean salsa, then more cheese.  Throw on another tortilla and spray it with cooking spray.  CAREFULLY, flip the quesadilla over and toast on the other side.  About 2 minutes.  Once it is toasted and melty, remove to a cutting board.  Now comes the hard part.  Let it rest for a minute or two.  It will be hard, but trust me, it is worth it.  If you cut it now you will lose all of your cheese, and that is just a sin.  Wait. Wait.  Okay, now, cut it into forths and serve with more Black Bean Salsa and some sour cream and guac, if you don't forget to make it.  Then take the praise from your family, because these things are sinful.  No need to tell any of the shorter members of your family that you just snuck spinach and peppers into their dinner. 

Super Easy Fruit Turnovers
My sister, Cindy, sent me this idea last week.  It's so easy, I'm not even sure you can call it a "recipe".  As she put it, her teenage children thought she was the "bomb".  :-)

1 single ready made pie crust
1 can Apple pie filling

Cut your pie crust into 4 triangles, scoop a small amount of pie filling in the center of each triangle.  Fold over the point of the triangle to meet the center of the wide part and press.  Bake at 400 degrees until crusts are light brown and yummy, about 25 minutes. 

Dustin  had been asking me for peach cobbler for over a week, but because I'm too lazy to use a pastry cutter to make my own crust, I hadn't done it.  I happened to have an extra premade crust in the fridge, so I decided to make a peach version of Cindy's Easy Turnovers and WOW!  So yummy and so easy!  Did I mention yummy?

I made my own peach pie filling and here is how I did it.  I think you could do it with different types of fruit, cooking harder fruits longer before adding the flour. 

4 T butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
pinch salt
1 bag frozen peaches or 8-10 fresh peaches, sliced
3 T flour

Melt the butter in a skillet, over medium heat.  Add sugar and water and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.  Add peaches, nutmeg, salt and flour.  Stir and cook until thickened.

This recipe made enough peach filling for 8 turnovers.  I put half of it in the fridge to use in a day or two.  Soooo good and such an easy dessert.  This one will be making numerous appearances in our house.  Thanks, sis! 

Taco Pot Pie

A good friend of mine, Jenn, sent me this recipe a couple of weeks ago after reading the "What's For Dinner" section of Confessions.  I put it away and finally pulled it out last night.  It was so good!  I wish I would have taken a picture, because once it was plated and had all the toppings on it was very, very pretty.  Here is the original recipe Jenn sent me...

1 pound lean ground beef
1 (1.25-ounce) package Taco Seasoning Mix
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
1 (1-pound) package frozen green, red and yellow peppers and onions*
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (11-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup salsa
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on package
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheese recommended: Colby/Monterey blend or Mexican blend

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat for 8 to 10minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Add taco seasoning mix and water; mix until ground beef is well coated.  Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium high heat until hot. Add peppers and onions; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and drain excess liquid. Add garlic and onion powders, salt, pepper, corn, and salsa, stir well and set aside.

Prepare pie crusts as directed on package for 2-crust pie using 9-inch glass or metal pie pan.
Combine salsa and corn mixture with ground beef; mix well. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese evenly in bottom of crust-lined pan. Spread 1/2 of beef mixture evenly in pan over cheese, pat down. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese in pan and spread evenly with remaining beef mixture, pat down, top with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Top with second crust and flute; slit in several places.
Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with strips of foil or a pie crust shield after 15 minutes of baking. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of taco sauce. Also recommended: guacamole, salsa, and diced green chiles.
* If using fresh peppers and onions, use 1 1/2 cups chopped onions and 2 1/2 cups chopped peppers and increase prep time and stove top cooking time.

Here is how I made it my own....

1.  I make my own taco seasoning.  I started doing this years ago when we thought Dustin had blood pressure issues and we were watching our sodium intake.  I just mix 1 part chili powder to 1/2 part each of cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, a pinch of basil, salt and pepper.  Mix it all together, add it to your browned beef with a little water.  Ta Da!!  I'm good, I know. 

2.  I hate dirtying extra dishes, so I just made everything in one big pot.  It is going to get mixed together anyway, so why not do it from the start?

3.  I added one jalapeno, seeded and ribbed, then chopped finely.  It added a little bit of spice, without being hot. 

4.  I chopped my own peppers and onions and probably didn't add the amount the recipe called for.  That seems like a lot to me, so I just added until it looked good for our taste.  I also used frozen corn instead of canned.

5.  I served it with sour cream, salsa and lettuce.  I bought an avacado, but forgot to make the guac until after dinner, so we just ate it as a dip.  Kennedy ate it with a spoon.  Very weird child, I know.  She can't help it.  She is her mother's daughter.

6.  The top of the pie got brushed with cream.  Because I had it and anything with cream is better.  Really?  It makes the crust brown and crispy and yummy, but you can beat up an egg and use that if you would rather, but if you are going for it, why not REALLY go for it, ya know?

Here is what I will do differently next time:

I'll add some black beans or ranch style beans in the mix next time.  Dustin asked if I could add rice, and I guess I could, but I'm going to have to think about that one.  You want the rice to be done, but not overly cooked.  Any ideas?

Try out this recipe.  I promise you won't be disappointed.  Let me know what you think of it or email me your recipes to be featured on Confessions at

No comments:

Post a Comment