Greetings...

Greetings...
Welcome to my little space in the world-wide web. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit down and enjoy your trek. I am not sure what brought you here, but I am glad you came. I hope you find something you like and come back often to visit. Be sure to sign up on the right to recieve all updates via your email.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snow Peeps Candy Bar Wrappers

I have been busy crafting these snow people for gifting the neighborhood and family children. Aren't they cute?  The two above were made as Hershey Bar Wrappers.  The ones below cover a small Pringles Can or a Tootsie Roll Bank.






 








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Sunday, November 13, 2011

5 Star Dinning at Home

There are a lot of steps to follow in this dish, but if you like to cook and have a little time, I guarantee you it is time well spent. This dish packs a lot of flavor and will satisfy all who are at the table for dinner.   This recipe made enough for 6-8 adults. 
 

Smothered Chicken Alfredo w/Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Ingredients
1 lb. bacon strips
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
2 eggs, beat together
2 tbsp. water, added to egg
1-2 cup self rising flour
1-2 cups bread crumbs
4-8 tablespoon canola oil
2 medium onion, sliced
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup shredded sharp white cheese
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp., flour
Pepper
Dash nutmeg
Mashed Potatoes
Fresh Brussels Sprouts, steamed (everything will taste yummy in the Alfredo Sauce)

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On large cookie sheet cook bacon in single layer until crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain, set aside and reserving 2 tablespoons drippings.
  • Put bacon drippings into sauté pan along with sliced onions, sauté onion until it has softened and becomes translucent.  Add brown sugar, continue cooking on low heat until onion is tender and golden brown and almost becomes sticky.  Set aside
  • Lay each breast halve onto cutting sheet.  Cover the chicken halve with your left hand and using your right hand cut the breast into two thinner pieces (or pound each half down with a mallet and cut into two pieces).
  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and lemon-pepper. Press in flour, dip in egg and then pat in bread crumbs.
  • In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil for 3-5 minutes on each side or until a meat is golden brown on both sides.  Remove to paper towel lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.  I cook one or two in the pan at a time.  When the oil gets hinkey I dump it out, wipe the pan and use fresh oil to cook the next batch. Continue cooking until all pieces are ready to be finished.
  • Place chicken into oven proof dish.  Sprinkle each piece of chicken with the two types of shredded cheese.   Then place bacon strips (or crumble bacon) onto each piece; Place in the oven and cook just until cheese is melted. 
  • While the chicken is in the oven, mix parmesan, nutmeg, pepper and tablespoon of flour in small saucepan.   Stir in whipping cream.   Place pan on low heat and stir constantly until melted. 
  • When everything is ready to plate, place a large spoonful of Alfredo sauce on bottom of dish. Add a mounded spoonful of mashed potatoes, lay chicken on top of potatoes and sauce, top with caramelized onions.  Add Brussels sprouts to dish.   
 
  




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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What to do?


What to do with all of those jars of Apple Pie filling I just got done canning. So apple season is coming to an end and I have peeled my share of apples this year.    I have made several apple pies, several apple crisps, apple sauce and apple pie filling.  Now to use up those items that were canned.  

Today’s recipe is- Apple Danish.     

Ingredients:
Puff Pastry Dough (I used Pepperidge Farm, one pkg. will make 8)
1 Quart jar of Apple Pie Filling
1 can readymade Vanilla Whipped Frosting

Defrost puff pastry.  Cut sheets into 4 equal squares.   Turn so point of square is facing you.  Place apple filling diagonally from one corner to the other.   Fold over opposite points.   Place on foil lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. 

Place large scoop of frosting in plastic baggie.  Squeeze into corner.  When Danish  are cool, frost a small squiggly line across Danish. 

Tips:  You can use a lot of different things as a filling. Here are a few: any pie filling, any jam or jelly, or a mixture of cheese cake and pie filling, jam or jelly.

If you have a lot of time and wish to make your own puff pastry dough, follow this link: to Cook. Eat. Delicious




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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apples, peaches, pumpkin pie, Who's not ready, holler "I".



Apples, peaches, pumpkin pie, Who's not ready, holler "I". Memories of a childhood game and playing hide and seek in the apple orchard can lead to other memories such as, picking and eating the apples while we played in the woods.

Fall is in the air, there are a ton of apples just right for the picking, and my house is filled with the smell of apple pie and apple crisp cooking. Even the puppy keeps sniffing the air to find where the wonderful aroma is coming from.

Growing up, I never liked apple pie. I liked my apples fresh and crisp, preferably just picked off the tree. Nothing like picking them yourself and wiping one in your flannel shirt to shine it up, all pretty, just before biting into it.  Even though I never cared for apple pie I still enjoyed making them. A lot of people stress over all of the steps it takes, but into today’s world there a ton of wonderful gadgets to make the task much easier. I start by using my apple, peeler, corer purchased from Pampered Chef (although they can be purchased elsewhere). As I am peeling, coring and slicing I put the apples into a cold water bath with ice and lemon juice (it helps to keep their natural white color. Like potatoes apples can turn a rusty color once they are peeled). For this recipe you need 6 good sized apples. By all means if you don’t have the gadget to do this feel free to do it the old fashioned way, by hand and knife.

While the apples are soaking in the bath, I then mix my crust in the food processor (mine is a Cuisinart, but use what you like, including but not limited to mixing by hand). Nothing could be simpler. I have found that the food processer is the secret magic trick for making homemade pasta and dough’s. Both pasta and dough tend to need cold water added by the tablespoon and when using the food processor you can tell when the dough is just right because it goes from the cornmeal stage to the dough ball stage in a hurry and that is when you know the dough is just right one tablespoon at a time. Whir it up and place in plastic wrap until it is chilled and ready roll out. This recipe calls for one pie crust as I made a crumb topping for the top.

Classic Crisco Pie Crust
Ingredients
1 1/3 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ stick well-chilled Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening Sticks OR 1/2 cup well-chilled Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
3 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water

Preparation
Blend flour and salt in medium mixing bowl. Cut chilled shortening into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut in chilled shortening cubes into flour mixture, using a pastry blender, in an up and down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining. Sprinkle half the maximum recommended amount of ice-cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.

TIP: Test dough for proper moistness by squeezing a marble-sized ball of dough in your hand. If it holds together firmly, do not add any additional water. If the dough crumbles, add more water by the tablespoonful, until dough is moist enough to form a smooth ball when pressed together.

Shape dough into a ball for single piecrust. Flatten ball into 1/2-inch thick round disk.

TIPS: For ease in rolling, wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Crumb Topping
Ingredients
½ cup very cold butter cut into small chunks
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup all purpose flour
Optional: You can add 1/4 cup of oatmeal but you will need to omit 1/4 cup flour

Preparation
I also make the crumb topping in the food processer. Takes only the time to pour the ingredients in and to maybe 30 seconds to whir it all together to the cornmeal stage. However, if you don't have a processor you can to it by hand with a fork or pastry cutter. Set aside.
The next step is making the yummy, delicious, cinnamon, coating for the apples. Take the apples out of the bath, cut in half and place the slices into a clean bowl.


Apple Filling
Ingredients
6-7 pie apples (on the tart and crisp side)
Juice from one orange (about 2 ounces)
1tsp. lemon juice
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preparation:
Place the peeled and sliced apples in a large bowl. Add the orange and lemon juice. Toss to coat the apples with the juice. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.

Drain the excess juice from the apples. Pour the sugar mixture over the apples and toss to coat the apples.

Assembling the entire Pie
Time to assemble that pie. For rolling out the crust, I use one of those rubber mats or a Sil Pat. Why? For two reasons: the first reason is you will need less flour for rolling out the dough. Two, I don’t have to pick up the pie crust with the rolling pin. I set the pie plate/pan on top, slide my hand under the mat and flip. Waaalaaa! Pie crust in the pan, no breaking. How easy is that? 

Trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold edge under. Flute dough as desired.

Arrange the coated apples in unbaked piecrust. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the apples. Place pie onto foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and apples are tender. Check pie half way through the baking time and cover the edges of the crust with foil if necessary to prevent burning.

Remove from oven and let cool until warm to touch this will allow any juices to settle into the apples.

Serve with your favorite from the following list: vanilla ice cream, whip cream, cheddar cheese (yes believe it or not it pairs well with apple pie).
Enjoy! I know you will be making this recipe again. Everyone who ate a piece of it here can’t wait for next one. You can also use this filling for an apple crisp or to top ice cream. My next stint is to can some for use later on.








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Monday, September 26, 2011

Whoopie! For Whoopie Pies.

What is better to cure a sweet tooth craving than a good old-fashioned Whoopie Pie?   The answer is: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.  There are all sorts of recipes  out there to use, I tend to try several different recipes and see which one I like the best.   This is the recipe I used for those in the photo below.  I did however make a few minor changes.  You decide which short cuts to follow.

I already had a can of Pumpkin Pie Filling so I used that instead of the pumpkin puree and spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg).  Secondly, I used a can of  whipped vanilla frosting for my filling.    Thirdly, I always do a test of 3 cookies to see how they will bake up.   These cookies should rise and look more cake like. The batter should be a thick creamy consistency.   If they spread to much I make them smaller.  If they don't rise enough I add 1/4 cup of self rising flour until I get the consistency I want.  

If this recipe doesn't work for you,  I suggest you do a Google search for a recipe of your choice.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies



Cookies:
11/2 cup Light brown sugar
3/4 cup Canola oil
2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
2 large Eggs
15 oz. Libby's canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
3 cup All purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
1/4 teaspoon Cloves, ground
1/4 teaspoon Ginger, ground
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
Frosting:
1/4 cup Unsalted butter, room temperature
4 1/2 cup Confectioners` sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix wet ingredients in order given on low speed with mixer.   Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl.  Add by 1/4ths to wet mixture.   Do not over beat.   Drop by spoonful's onto parchment lined cookie sheet.   Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Times may vary depending on size of cookie.
To make the frosting beat cream cheese on low until smooth.  Add butter and mix until combined.  Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.




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Monday, September 5, 2011

Did A Bad, Bad Thing

I have always had bad cravings for chocolate. The thing about cravings is you never know when or where they are going to start welling up inside. I came across this recipe over a month ago and thought I would save it for just an occasion.

Today was one of those days where the craving met the occasion to bake this recipe. It was a bad bad thing. I decided to make cupcakes rather than the full on large, two layer, cake for the simple reason that I thought cupcakes would help with portion control. Yup it worked. Aren't they cute? One yummy cupcake per person. Pat had run errands and I had taken the puppy for a walk on this cool, damp rainy day. Good day to bake and cure that chocolate craving. Made the cupcakes and let them cool while I made the ganache and filling. We both sat down with a cup of coffee and a cupcake. They were quite yummy. We finished and went about our business. Portion controll worked for our afternoon snack. Wait a minute...while actually ten minutes later Pat says "Can I have another one"?. So we did a bad, bad thing, we both had another. I suggest you try this recipe and see if you can exercise your self control.

 Oreo Cake/Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food chocolate cake mix (our your favorite chocolate cake mix)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
12 OREO Cookies, coarsely crushed

Directions:

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

PREPARE cake batter and bake in 2 (9-inch) round pans as directed on package. Cool cakes in pans 10 min. Invert cakes onto wire racks; gently remove pans. Cool cakes completely.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 min.

MEANWHILE, beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until soft and smooth. Gently stir in COOL WHIP and crushed cookies. Stack cake layers on plate, spreading cream cheese mixture between layers. Spread top with chocolate glaze; let stand until firm. Keep refrigerated.    

NOTES:
Rather than make a large a cake, I made cupcakes.   
When cupcakes were cool I spread the melted chocolate glaze onto the cupcake and then  topped that with the Cream Cheese Coolwhip mixture. 

I also added the mini Oreo cookies on the top but you could sprinkle with crushed cookies or chocolate jimmy's.

You could also place a large Oreo in the bottom of the cupcake liner before filling with cake batter.   

If you need something a little fancier you could layer them in a glass for individual servings for a parfait look or a clear colored bowl for a large trifle that serves many.   For another updated idea you could serve them as many restaurants do now days by serving them in a shot glass. 





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