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Greetings...
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Friday, November 29, 2013

Cookie Dough Brownie Bombs

The Cookie Capers have begun. One of my favorite things about Christmas is making several types of Christmas cookies and candies. This year will be no exception. Have had a little time on my hands so I am ahead of the game so far. The tree is up and decorated and today was spent, mixing, rolling, freezing, melting and dipping a few truffles and balls.
This is a new recipe that I wanted to try and I have tweaked to suit my needs. I mean who doesn't love cookie dough, brownies or chocolate?   



Cookie Dough Brownie Bombs
Ingredients¾ cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
2 cups miniature chocolate chips, divided (1 cup for dough and one cup for decorating)
1 pkg. Fudge brownie mix, baked and cooled.
1 pkg. chocolate melts

Instructions
Mix the brownies as directed on the box and bake and cool. 

Make the cookie dough in the stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the milk and vanilla; beat to combine. Lastly, beat in the flour and pinch of salt until a soft dough forms. Stir in one cup of the mini chips.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Using the smallest cookie scoop you can find. Scoop dough out in even increments and set on wax paper lined cookie sheet. Once dough is all scooped, roll each dough into a ball. Freeze the dough balls for about an hour to firm up.
 
 
Cut the brownies leaving a ½ inch edge around the pan. Place center of brownies into a Ziploc bag and smoosh together to mix evenly. Freeze for 30 minutes. Scoop out balls of dough with smallest cookie scoop and place on cookie sheet. Roll all into balls and flatten.    

Place a cookie dough ball in the middle of the flattened brownie and very gently, wrap the brownie around the cookie dough ball. Set back on waxed lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all cookie dough balls are covered, and then return to the freezer for 30 minutes.






Melt chocolate into a tall narrow mug, according to package directions. Using a toothpick, dip each brownie truffle into the chocolate, coat completely, and allow excess to drip off. Return to the foil-line sheet and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cup of mini chips, for garnish. Store chocolates in the fridge or freezer, in an airtight container.




Notes/Swaps
You need to have moist brownies to do these. If the brownies you have are to dry. Put them in the food processor and pulse until they look like fine crumbs. Then trickle in Hershey’s syrup and run processer until a soft dough forms. You will be able to tell when this happens as the dough will pull away from the sides of the processer.

I usually make several kinds of truffles or balls at this time of year. Because they can be similar in size and often dipped in the same type of chocolate, I often choose something small to place on the top of each individual ball. In this case I used a small sugar snowflake, because I had already used the chocolate chips on the plain cookie dough balls. When I make Oreo truffles I top them with chocolate jimmies and I used crushed gingersnaps to top the gingersnap truffles.






Oreo Truffles





 Cookie Dough Balls





Gingersnap Truffles




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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Best Crispy Bacon Ever-Roasted, Candied Bacon

Who hasn't burned them selves from the spattering of oil while frying bacon?   Once I learned this little trick I rarely every fry bacon on the stovetop.      

Roast Bacon
1 lb. your favorite bacon, thicker bacon works best.  
Spicy Brown Mustard
Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Lay the bacon out in a single layer onto the covered cookie sheet.  The slices can touch.  Brush on a thin layer of spicy brown mustard.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.   Bake until it reaches your desired depth of crispiness.  Approximately 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on paper towel to drain extra fats.     

 
 
 
Notes and Swaps
Some people like to use maple syrup, but I find it burns to quickly.  
 
 






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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mummifying

Feeling a little bored this afternoon.   Kids get way too much candy on Halloween so I decided to make them a decoration  that could be filled with endless possibilities.  

 



Supplies
Empty can with lid, any size. 
White paint
Hot Glue Gun and Glue
Gauze
Googlie Eyes (size depending on your can)
Raffia
Black Construction Paper or paint
Button (optional)
Fake Teeth (optional)
Halloween Ribbons

Directions

1.  Clean the can.
2. Paint the outside with white paint.
3. Cut a diamond shape out of the black paper big enough to glue on the two googlie eyes in the position you would like.   Glue this to the dried can.
4.  Glue on the fake teeth below the eyes, leaving enough room for a nose.
5.  I purchased rolls of 3 inch gauze from the dollar store.   Then I died the ends of the rolls by using a wet tea bag.  I dried them in the microwave.   Wrap the can starting from the top, leaving room to allow the top to be put back on.   Wrapping around the eyes and mouth to cover the edges and gluing in spots when needed.
6.  Glue on the button nose.
7.  Tie on a piece of raffia and again wind around the can.  Tie on some extra pieces to make it looked raveled.
8,  Glue gauze in a pleasing pattern on the top.   I glued one edge of gauze around the rim of the top.  Twisted it and them glued to the opposite side of the lid.   Trimming the extra and repeating around the edge of the lid until it was covered. 
9.  Tie Halloween ribbon around the top and attach a gift tag of your choice. 
10.  Fill can with desired items.  Candy, trinkets, cookies, popcorn, chips, etc. 
 
 
 


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Monday, August 19, 2013

Not your usual Stuffed Peppers


I love stuffed peppers.   So did the rest of my family until recently.   Somehow, the pepper part just doesn’t agree with my husband anymore.    So, when I make stuffed peppers these days, I usually make half of them as stuffed squash.  They are still delicious, but the squash doesn’t tend to come back as a repeat for my husband.   
 
 

Stuffed Zucchini and Yellow Squash (or Peppers)

1 ½ lbs. hamburger
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup milk, water, or chicken broth (pick one)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
3-4 small zucchini or yellow squash, halved and seeded
1 large can of tomato soup
1 can chicken broth
1 pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400°

Place hamburger in mixing bowl with eggs, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, liquid of your choice, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.   Mix until evenly combined.

Cut squash in half and remove seeds.    Fill with meatball mixture and place in ovenproof dish.   Once you have filled all the squash halves, you then pour in one can of chicken broth and can of tomato soup.  

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes on 400°.   When timer goes off, reduce heat to 350° and cook an additional 45 minutes.   Remove from oven and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Return to oven and bake an additional ½ hour.   Serve with rice and store all leftovers in the frig.


Notes and Swaps

·         You can swap out the squash with large peppers.

·         You can serve with rice to use up the extra sauce

·         You can fill squash with your favorite meatball, meatloaf or meat and rice mixture.

·         Sometimes when I make the squash I add a sliced onion and pepper with the soup before baking.

·         Have big squash, cut it crosswise in chunks, scoop out the middle and fill with meat.

·         Try adding some sweet corn or black beans to your meat mixture.

 
 


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Old Fashioned TV Dinner Made From Scratch

Who doesn’t remember sitting in front of the TV or at the dinner table with a Frozen TV Dinner?   Salisbury Steak was never my favorite.   I liked the meatloaf with peas, carrots and mashed potatoes.   However, as I have grown, so has my affection for Salisbury steak and Gravy made from scratch.  

You can make it all from scratch as I have done many of times or you can take a few shortcuts as shown in this recipe.    You still get the entire flavor profile and the memories that come with it of sitting and eating a TV dinner kicked up several notches.    Plus it is a lot quicker.   I promise you won’t be disappointed and you will keep this recipe handy for future use.   

Quick Salisbury Steak

1 ½ lbs. ground beef
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 egg
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg. fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1 Large Jar of Heinz Gravy Savory Beef
1-2 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master

Combine ground beef, Lipton Onion Soup Mix, black pepper, egg and Worcestershire sauce; mix well.  This mixture is kind of moist but so worth it in the end.  Divide into equal portions of your liking and shape each into a 1 inch thick oval patty.

Coat a skillet with cooking oil and cook the patties for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

Add mushrooms to the skillet and cook until browned on one side, about 3-4 minutes.  Turn them over and cook another three minutes.   Add the Gravy Master to the pan and stir.  Stir in the jar of Gravy and mix.  Add the burgers back into the pan.  Cook over low heat until all is mixed together and heated through.   (I did not add salt nor onions due to the fact that those ingredients are prevalent in the Lipton Soup Mix).   

Serve over mashed potato or rice.  
Notes and Swaps
·         You can swap out the Lipton Onion Soup for a small sliced and sautéed onion and some salt.
·         You can make your own gravy from scratch using the drippings from the burgers and a can of beef broth and cornstarch.
 
Bonus Tip
Boil 2-3 potatoes  and mash them with 1/2 cup real mayonnaise. Once mayo is mixed in add 1 tbsp. butter, salt and pepper and mix until combined.   Serve with your favorite meat and gravy.    No runny potatoes, no lumps, no gumminess ever. They will be the best mashed potatoes you have ever had.





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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

To Boil or Not To Boil

Not!  After making Southern Fried Corn today I think I prefer the fried way.  Well at least most of the time.  Who can't resist gnawing at corn on cob once or twice through the summer? However, sweet corn can look great fresh from the field but once you have dropped it in the water and cooked it, can come out tasteless and tough.  

One of the biggest no no's for sweet corn is to put it in those plastic shopping bags.  Those darn things wick the moisture right out of the corn and the husk.  Sweet corn is best bagged in a paper bag.  

One of my friends brought 6 ears of corn last night after we had already eaten dinner.   Yup, it was in one of those plastic shopping bags.  Yes, I left it on the counter in the bag overnight.   Experiment in the making.

Lunch time today, I decided to try my luck at Southern Fried Corn.   When I took the corn out of the bag, the bag was wet but the husks were dry.   When I peeled the corn, it was mostly Butter/Sugar corn and it looked good.   I then proceeded to remove the corn from the cob with my handy dandy Sweet Corn Gadget and fry it up in a pan.  It was a success.  The corn came out very tasty.    It was sweet and cooked to aldente stage.


Pamperd Chef Kernel Cutter

This works wonderfully for cutting those kernels off the cob.  



Southern Sautéed Sweet Corn

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 ears sweet corn, corn removed from the cob
Salt and pepper to taste
Drizzle of honey (don't ask, just do it)

Option’s
Bacon grease (instead of olive oil and butter)
Sweet Red Pepper, diced small
Sweet Vidalia Onion, diced small
½ cup heavy cream
 
Directions
Peel and prepare corn by removing the kernels from the cob.   Set aside in bowl.   Also prepare any of the other optional vegetables you are adding.   

Using 10 inch or larger skillet heat oil and butter over medium-high heat.   Add the corn and other vegetables.  Sauté for 4-5 minutes stirring several times until the corn and vegetables are heated through.   Season with salt and pepper to taste before removing from heat to a serving dish.  Drizzle with honey.  Mix to evenly coat.  Serve warm. 
 
 
 
 



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