Thursday, December 31, 2009

Baked or Fried Coconut Shrimp with Dipping Sauce Recipe


These are Baked Coconut Shrimp


So if you like coconut, pineapple, and fish...this is the post for you and this is my last for 2009! I have enjoyed all your wonderful comments and support, thank you all so much! Hope 2010 is your best year ever for all of you......

Pina Colada Salsa makes this tropical dish, a paradise of flavors to make you fall in love all over again with whomever is cooking this for you, so watch out. Try this on your family and friends, you will sure to please them.


These are Fried Coconut Shrimp

Seems like coconut Shrimp is favorited among most folks, but I love the Flounder, Lobster bites and the Scallops the best!






                                 No matter what you use fish or chicken this coating is wonderful!




Remember to leave the tails on for presentation for your shrimps. Some of mine fell off while washing them....of course your still going to use them.

I usually always have these ingredients around, since I actually use this coating on more than just fish, its great on chicken too with the same sauce..
But add orange marmalade or chopped mandarin oranges into the salsa...its great!


Use assorted fish of: Shrimp, Scallops, Lobster, Tilapia, Flounder or any other thin fish you choose ( I have also used Chicken that is awesome as well for non fish lovers)
6-8 cups canola oil for frying
assorted large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1/2 pound) scallops, fresh or frozen white thin fish as recommended or thinly sliced chicken breast pounded

Fried Coating Recipe:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of corn starch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons pineapple coconut rum or coconut and pineapple extracts
1 cup panko style bread crumbs put through food processor for a finer coating
1/2 cup flaked coconut put through the food processor to make very fine

Pina Colada Sauce at the bottom for dipping


Directions

Prepare pina colada dipping sauce first by combining all the ingredients.
Cover and chill, while you prepare the fish.
Heat oil to 350 degrees.
Measure 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup corn starch into a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl mix together the remaining flour and cornstarch, sugar, and salt.
Stir milk and rum into flour mixture.
Let batter rest for five minutes.
While the batter rests, combine panko breadcrumbs and shredded coconut into a third medium bowl.
Preparing the Shrimp (make sure all fry is dry and all absorbed in a paper towels).
Butterfly cut each shrimp before you start the battering and cut assorted fish into chunks or thin slices for filets as well as the chicken.
** Note : Use a sharp knife to slice through the top of the shrimp (where the vein was) so that you can spread the shrimp open.
Leave the tail on.

Batter the fish : dip each one in the flour, then the wet batter, then coat each piece with the crushed panko/coconut mixture.
Arrange the fish on a wax oaper lined cookie sheet, until all of them are coated.
Fry the fish by dropping a few at a time into the hot oil until the fish is golden brown.
Place on paper towels to drain.

Pina Colada Dipping Sauce :

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream of coconut, pina colada nonalcoholic drink mix or (in a pinch use confectionery sugar and coconut rum to make a paste) substitute
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Sprinkle more coconut on top of fish before serving for presentation.

Baked Coating Recipe:
6 tablespoon panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, chili powder
pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix above ingredients in a plastic zip lock bag shake set aside.
2 beaten egg whites
25 large shrimp tails on cleaned
Place the shrimp in the egg whites. One by one shake into  the bag with the coating mixture.  Lay each shrimp on an oiled spray piece of aluminum foil and bake on 435 degree hot preheated oven. Bake till browned around 8 to 10 minutes.

Dipping sauce:
1 orange zested and juiced seeds removed
2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
Mix above ingredients together and set aside. Microwave one minute when ready to use. Serve warm with shrimp.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Homemade Italian Caponata with Fried Bologna

My Families Version of Caponata

















Another one of those childhood memories. Mom would start to make the Caponata and Dad would fry the Bologna. So many versions from many different kinds made of Caponata. Every part of Italy seems to make this a little different. This was the Barese style, where mom's family was from. Dad was from Rome, not sure who started adding the fried bologna, as that came later, but we loved it. The Caponata could be served so many different ways after it was cooked, the fresh Italian bread always makes the sandwich that much better, and at that time we never had bread that wasn't freshly made out of the oven or hot from the bakery where Dad worked. Mom worked at a local supermarket and sometimes would bring home their bread. It was always so funny to see Dad face. Dad would always check the inside of the bread and pull out a piece from the middle and if he could roll it in a ball , then he would say "this isn't cooked it doughy" and off he'd walk to get us another loaf fresh, from a local bakery, he knew good bread and wouldn't use anything else but good quality Italian bread, he really appreciated homemade or from the Italian bakeries.

The eggplant, garlic, celery, olives, capers, tomato and of course a little vino, really made this an awesome sandwich by itself, then adding sauteed Bologna...oooooo the smell alone would be hard to wait to eat this delicious sandwich.




They are both cooked separately, the bologna in one pan and the Caponata in another...then they meet up later in one pan.



Caponata all ready to go......






Frying the Bologna.


2 large eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 cups chopped onions (optional for me I use extra eggplant)
2-1/2 cups (about 20 ounces) canned Italian plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1 (1-pound) can pitted green olives
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup a good Red Wine (recommended Cabernet) or Red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt, black pepper


Sprinkle the eggplant with the salt after prepared and washed and let stand in a colander for 20 to 30 minutes. Run under water then blot dry. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large fry pan. Place the eggplant in the pan and cook, until soft and tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the pan. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring often for three to four minutes, or until soft. Add the tomatoes, paste celery and green olives. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the celery is tender. Return the eggplant to the pot. Add the capers, wine and sugar heat till sugar is dissolved. Pour over the eggplant mixture. Season to taste with salt, black pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a separate fry pan, cut one pound of bologna up into square pieces. Fry until golden and some of the edges are crispy. Just before the Bologna is done add 2 cups of Caponata to the bologna heat thoroughly. At this point you can get some thick Italian bread to make your sandwich. This Caponata can also be served plain without the meat over pasta, on garlic toast, or over rice.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Italian Roasted Chickpeas

Amazing little garbanzo beans, a healthy snack!















I grew up eating Roasted Chickpeas at Italian feasts in Upstate N.Y. I can't tell you how much I miss those East Utica Feasts that bring back my childhood memories. The aroma of these alone was like popcorn in a theater, you couldn't resist them. Eating these just brought me back in time to a place when everyone there knew each other or was related that lived there, and this was the event of the year to go to. It still is with some of the long time natives, a tradition and event to look forward too. Utica had St. Agnes, Mount Carmel, St. Anthony feasts at various times of the year, and you couldn't miss one, those are just to name a few. These were roasted little bundles of delicious healthy flavored beans, as a kid who knew they were good for you. Plain, or flavored, they were always a favorite for me. If you like garbanzo beans, and you want to try a healthy snack this one's for you, don't miss it.... of course I still do miss those machines that roasted them fresh and the smell in the cool air that hit you in the face.... great memories....


The flavor is light on these but with a little heat from the cayenne pepper, you decide on what you like. Plain, garlic, hot doesn't matter , anything goes.


Remember these even after you dry them will still pop, do not stick your head anywhere near these when you open the oven door! Also let them cool a little first before taking them out when done.

Most of the ingredients you will already have on hand.... hope you enjoy them as much as me....
1- can chickpeas or make them fresh from a bag of dried (I put them on low in the crockpot overnight)
garlic powder
salt, pepper
paprika
cayenne pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them VERY WELL or they start to explode in the oven. On a cookie sheet lined with tin foil and sprayed with non stick oil, also pour a very thin layer of olive oil, add chickpeas then sprinkle lightly with seasonings to your taste, with salt, black pepper, garlic powder,paprika and cayenne pepper. Tilt pan back and forth to evening coat all the beans on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning. Let them cool down before taking them out...just like popcorn they can still keep popping.. be careful....

Like honey roasted?  Try this recipe:
1 can chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans are the same thing) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 1 tablespoon honey... spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper on 450 until browned... watch them carefully...

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Raspberry Champagne Cocktail for New Year's Eve

Another year is about to go by. Wow! Where did 2009 go? It just flew by me!

This has always been a night we usually stay home, for many reasons. First and most important, its my husbands birthday, so Happy Birthday Nemo!



















We usually watch the traditional ball drop on TV every year from Madison Square Garden and then off to bed we go.
Seems a little boring, but actually peaceful and comforting to sit back and look over the year and what we were grateful for.
What we can do different, and explore hopes and dreams to come.
This becomes more of a planning night for us. Next year we hope for a new car and actually moving into a bigger home. It's nice to have dreams and a new year brings us to that very moment in hopes to always have a better year than the last.

Hope my readers, will have a happy and healthy 2010 , and as the years go by, every year will get better than the year before!






A favorite drink to bring in the new year, a refreshing one at that, one of our favorites, Raspberry Champagne Cocktail. Chambord is a delicious liqueur and if you haven't tried it, now is the time. Below is even a homemade recipe.

A very festive drink for any occasion, Christmas and Valentines Day also has this drink on the list..



The sweetness of the Chambord and Vodka, then topping if off with bubbly are what makes this one so special.





This is a collage of the family left living at home....My husband and I, Trina(grey tabby) and Fonzo ( he got into the strawberries~)
We will all bring in the New Year together.

Being from a family of Music, My brother John plays piano and sings professionally in Fisher Island, I taught piano for many years and my son Curt loves to sing. So, when he visits me, I play he sings. I always get him to sing "Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg for me , I just love that song. Then I also will play Barry Manilow's "It's Just Another New Year Eve"... mellow but soothing.

Raspberry Champagne Cocktail
1/4 cup good quality vodka
2 fluid ounces Chambord
1 cup ice cubes optional If you haven't chilled the liqueurs you can add ice to the shaker
2 fluid ounces Champagne
fresh raspberries for garnish
red and white crystal sugar for coating the glasses
Dip glass into water then into the sugar to coat the rim of the glass.
Pour chilled Vodka and Chambord into a shaker and shake till frothy, pour into the prepared glass . Top off with champagne. Garnish with fresh raspberries through a toothpick.


An inexpensive treat compared to the store bought originals.
Directions How to make Homemade Chambord

1 lb fresh raspberry
3 cups good quality vodka (80 proof)
1 1/4 cups fine sugar

Rinse the berries & cut into small pieces or mash with a fork. Place in a glass container, add vodka.
Cap and store in a cool, dark place, stir once a week for 2 to 4 weeks.
Strain and transfer the unsweetened liqueur to an aging container (glass bottle or container with tight cap).
Add the sugar, recap & let mellow for at least 3 months.
Pour to a new bottle. Add more sugar to taste if not sweet enough for you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Nutty Cheese Ball

This is a favorite every year around the Holiday and we just do appetizers for New Years Eve. So here is an easy one that goes along way for any party.




















1/2 pound Sharp Cheddar shredded
1/2 pound of Swiss Cheese shredded
1 package of Cream Cheese softened
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of Sweet Marsala

Assorted nuts, you will need at least 3/4 of a cup of them chopped and mixed together
1/4 walnuts chopped or pecans
1/4 cups sliced almonds
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts or macadamia nuts
Beat cheeses and spices with a flat beater on high speed, and then at the end add the wine continuing to use an electric stand mixer, beat till smooth. Note: If the cheese is not at room temperature and shredded fine enough it will take longer to beat smooth. Shape into a ball, pour nuts on wax paper and roll cheese ball into nuts to coat well.
Wrap in the wax paper and refrigerate until serving. Serve with assorted flavored crackers.
+claudia lamascolo  Author

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rice Almondine Marsala

This is a side dish that is fast and easy and delicious with any meat you serve. The buttery toasted almond taste compliments the rice and the sweetness from the Marsala blends is a perfect match to this delicious rice almondine. Amazingly enough they will think you took all day to prepare this and it will surprise you on how fast and easy it is.



2 cups of white rice cooked( fast or regular rice long grain)
6 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoons of fresh minced garlic
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup Marsala wine
In a fry pan melt butter and olive oil and saute almonds till lightly brown, add garlic and mushrooms cook until mushrooms are soft. Add Marsala last and saute one more minute. Stir in cooked rice and serve.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bourbon Marinade Glazed Baked Ham



























This ham will please many and you will be asked to make this over and over. After carving, you can serve with a little marinade over the top or make a thickened sauce for serving and appearance. The marinade alone is so delicious you really don't need to do another thing after its cooked except sit down and watch it disappear.



If you do happen to have any leftovers (as we never do), this will make a great breakfast ham and eggs in the morning and also ham and cabbage soup by using the bone, just a few suggestions. I buy a bigger ham every year.



The meat will literally fall off the bone clean after slowly baking and sliced while warm.


You will need some lemon lime soda or ginger ale to mix with this marinade also.





1 Ham up to 10 pounds

After this is mixed below you will put this in a large cooking bag with the marinade and refrigerate up to two days, one minimum. The longer it stays in the bag the more tender this ham will be.

2/3 cup Bourbon
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pineapple preserves
a pinch of ground cloves optional
1 can or cup full of ginger ale or lemon lime soda
1 can chunk pineapple

Large Cooking plastic bags works the best. If you use a roasting pan, make sure you cover tightly to seal out the air.
Mix above ingredients in a bowl.

Garnish:
2 oranges, sliced pitted
maraschino cherries
Preparation
Clean ham cut off fat and skin. Put into a large plastic cooking bag set into a 13- x 9-inch pan add all ingredients except oranges and cherries. At this point I poke 6 holes in the bag at the top and it goes into the refrigerator for two days to marinate.

Bake at 275° for 3 hours. Slice off the bone, arrange in platter and while serving pour glaze over ham and arrange orange slices, arrange on toothpicks, chunk pineapple and cherries on serving plate. You can use the juice to make a gravy over the ham and fruit or leave it plain, its a perfect blend for your holiday ham or anytime.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twas The Night Before Christmas Cookies


Of course the last minute panic, the rush to buy that grocery you forgot, and then the panic that you can't find that perfect gift for someone added to the guest list. Then you think you didn't cook enough. But in the end what matters is togetherness. Families uniting, putting everything aside to be with one another. Not the presents or even the food, the laughter, fun and love that is especially shared this special day. With all the preparation its gone before you know it. Making more wonderful memories year after year.


http://pegasuslegend-whatscookin.blogspot.com/2009/11/chocolate-chip-cookies-bakery-recipe.html










There is one important thing left to do, leave the cookies and milk for Santa. Then read the story of below "The night before Christmas". Merry Christmas..to all.






THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Clement Clarke Moore
or Henry Livingston



'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Anytime Twice Baked Potatoes

Fast and easy and a great side dish on any occasion. These are packed with flavor. Always a nice addition when serving meat, fish or poultry, they travel well, and can feed allot of family and friends and will look great on your table.





Twice Baked Potatoes with Garlic and Cream Cheese
These are a terrific side when you having a house full of company, you can make these ahead of time even the day before and they will still taste great heated up.
Twice Baked Potatoes
6 potatoes microwaved for nine minutes. Cool sliced in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the potatoes into a large bowl.
Whip potatoes together in a large bowl with:
4 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoon of whipped cream cheese
1 teaspoon roasted garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon parsley
Add cream or milk whip until creamy using a hand held mixer, or if you like them chunky, then by hand.
Fill each hollowed out potato jacket with the mixture, top with more butter and bake at 400 till heated through.
Sprinkle with paprika and parsley for garnishing.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Balls or Rum Ball Recipe

Merry Christmas with no bake Chocolate Hazelnut Balls ( if you have had Rum Balls, these are an adapted recipe using Italian Frangelico)....Buon Natale



If you like the taste of Chocolate and Hazelnut, these will be a big hit in your family as well.



A real change, after just making rum balls for many years, I thought adding another one to the list would be a great addtion...we now have two new favorite no bake cookies for our Christmas tray.







Since we are all big fans of this wonderful Italian hazelnut liqueur in our family, I had to adapt the rum ball recipe and make this hazelnut. Of course you can make these rum with walnuts if you prefer.. or make both like we do, great on any holiday tray quick and easy.

1 box vanilla wafers finely crushed
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips melted
1 cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
1/2 cup Frangelico hazelnut liqueur or Rum
3 tbs. corn syrup
Put the vanilla wafers to powder in a food processor. Melt the chocolate chips (microwave ) Combine wafers, chocolate, hazelnuts, liqueur, and corn syrup; mix until blended. Form into bite-sized balls. Roll in powdered sugar, brushing excess sugar off for marbled look , dusty.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Truffles with Frangelico



Truffles
1/2 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips or really good chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
2tablespoons Frangelico ( have also used Regular Rum, Baileys, Kaluha, Coconut Rum or Gran Marnier all work well)

The finishing touches are to roll these in at the end variations as follows:
1/4-1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut shredded
1/2 cup macadamia finely crushed or hazel nuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, chopped fine.
assorted sugars, sprinkles etc

Truffles:

Put the chocolate chips in a glass bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and then pour it over the chocolate.
Shake the bowl gently to let the cream settle into the chocolate, then cover the bowl with a plate or a lid to allow the chocolate to melt (takes about 5 minutes).
Whisk to mixture until smooth and shiny. Stir in the liqueur. Cover the unit of the chocolate tightly with the wrap and put in a cool place for about two hours to firm up.
Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Use two spoons to drop 1/2 to 1-inch mounds of chocolate on the paper.
Shape them into balls.
Put ground nuts and cocoa/ground chocolate onto seperate plates or bowls, and roll the truffles in the chocolate/and or nuts/coconut or sprinkles or your choice. Use a clean spoon to help you coat them. Refrigerate the truffles until ready to serve.
To serve, gently scoop the truffles out of the cocoa with a fork and put them in small paper cups , keep refrigerated until serving.... these freeze well also.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Italian Fried Calamari with Marinara Basil Sauce

One of my favorite appetizers is Calamari. We love it simple, lightly coated with a basil marinara sauce to dip it in. Here below is the most recent updated photo  in 2011



1 pound clean Squid/Calamari with tentacles, bodies cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rings or strips, leave tentacles whole or cut in half. Be sure to blot dry .
1 cups all-purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large plastic bag
Dipping sauce
1 cup fresh marinara sauce

Pour enough oil into a heavy large saucepan or electric fry pan, to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Mix the flour, corn starch, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bag. Working in small batches, shake the squid into the flour mixture to coat. Carefully add the squid to the oil and fry until crisp and very pale golden, about 1 minute per batch. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
Place the fried calamari on paper towels to absorb oil. Sprinkle with lots of grating cheese. Serve with the marinara sauce and fresh basil.
Marinara Sauce
2 pounds of plum tomato's cleaned and put in food processor, leave a little chunky.
2 minced fine cloves of garlic plus 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, oregano, and parsley
4 fresh basil leaves
Cook tomato down around 1/2 hour with all herbs except fresh basil.
Add the basil in the bowl after the sauce has cooked.

Mexican Meatloaf Cups with Refried Beans with Picante Salsa

It's always a great pleasure to experiment with new foods for me and this is one of them. For a change we really like to make Mexican food, and Salsa is a great appetizer with chips. A nice change of Pace, no pun intended. So, given the opportunity being a Featured Publisher for Foodbuzz and a Tastetester, this delicious Mexican meatloaf was born using Pace Picante Salsa .













The filling for these Mexican meatloaf cups, consists of Picante Salsa, chili mix, a can of refried beans mixed well. The filling goes into the cups after the meat is baked for at least 25 minutes.




After the meat is molded into the cupcake tins, bake them at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes until all the pink is gone. In the meantime while baking, make the filling. When the meat cups are cooked, drain out all the excess fat. I use the back of a tablespoon and press on each cup to get all the fat out.





The meat will easily mold inside the tins, make sure you leave a well in the middle for the filling.

Mix the meat, chili seasoning, Pace Picante Salsa, peppers, egg, and bread crumbs well.




1 pound of raw hamburger

1 egg

1 clove of minced garlic

4 tablespoons of chopped bell green and red peppers

1 package of chili seasoning mix

1 jar of  Picante Salsa medium hotness

1 can fat free refried beans

1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheeses

In a bowl mix hamburger, egg, garlic, peppers, 1/2 cup salsa and 1/2 package of chili seasoning, 1/2 cup flavored bread crumb mix till well blended.

Line the greased cupcake tins thinly with meat so it goes all the way up to the top edges. Bake for around 20 minutes until all the pink is gone. Drain or blot excess grease out of the cups.

In the mean time get a clean bowl, mix refried beans, 1/4 cup of salsa and chili seasoning. Add 1/2 cup of cheese. Fill each cup with the bean mixture. Top with remaining cheese and bake another 15 minutes until all the cheese is melted. Serve tortilla chips to use as a scoop or optional top with sour cream, black olives and pass the salsa.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Variety of Homemade Chocolate Candies

















One of the last things I do before Christmas is making candy.

We love all the favorite kinds, barks, toffee,caramel,but there are always those favorites you make every year after year, and then add the ones at the end that you just had to have them even if no one ate them, you grew up with them and its not Christmas without seeing them around.

I was in the market today, and the memories of mixed nuts still in the shell were looking at me. My mom bought them every year, roasted them, and they sat there until late February when she would crack them all open, and they ended up in a banana bread. Then there were the dried figs. Oh boy do I love fresh ones, couldn't find any today either, but in NY they were impossible to find, so there sat the figs, dry, hard and tasteless we could never find the ones that were soft . Just one more of those items I had to buy regardless, and yes I bought the nuts too. I love chestnuts and they were no where to be found anywhere here, and we would eat them all, go figure! Anyway, I am sure you all have those Christmas skeletons laying around somewhere you can share.

Ok back to candy. I love Boyer mallo cups, I can't believe how hard they are to find, I loved them as a kid and now. Then they gave a bonus, to save the cards that came inside the wrapper, and I recall if you saved 500 points, you got a ten pack of candy free by sending them in. Wow , Nostalgia at its finest....I really loved those darn things fluffy marshmallow and coconut filling....Once in awhile I run across the real deal. But for now. I make a mock version of them that satisfy me in taste.



I make a variety. Just by using milk chocolate coating candy. Its so easy, just melt them in the microwave for one minutes stir and start to build your favorites.


You can use any nuts you like to make clusters and add them to the melted chocolate, I always top them with the kind of nut that in there. No one has to guess and bite into one they don't like to begin with.




These are so easy, a little melted chocolate, a hazelnut, a small teaspoon of nutella, then top with more chocolate ending with a hazelnut on top. A great filled candy cup.



These are done the same way, a little melted chocolate, 1 teaspoon of peanut butter, top with more melted chocolate and add a peanut and you have a peanut butter cup.

These are just mini pretzels dipped in the melted chocolate and sugar crystals added for color and a festive look. I used two forks to dip them.




OK these are my favorites, start out with toasted coconut in the microwave one minutes, watch it so it doesn't burn. Then in a paper candy cup add a little melted chocolate, sprinkle with the toasted coconut, add a teaspoon of marshmallow fluff, top with more melted chocolate and sprinkle with coconut so you know what's inside.


The chocolate melts in one minute then stir, you can add a few more seconds but be very careful not to scorch. Half a bag at the time of candy melts to one minute.


I make sure I get all the ingredients out so I know which ones I will make. You can come up with all kinds of favorites.
You will come up with all kinds of idea's on what you can fill your cups with, anything goes, enjoy, and have a wonderful Sweet filled Christmas!!!!! Buon Natale