Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Red Beet Eggs

In true PA dutch form, I must include a recipe for red beet eggs. I love red beet eggs, but it's a taste I've only just recently began to appreciate. For years, I was convinced they were gross. Now, I love them. and I'm typing this as I have a bunch cooking away on my stove.

First, you gotta boil some eggs. Which isn't hard, but I never knew the "proper way" to do it until recently. So, I'm going to explain that too. Cuz if I didn't know, there's gotta be someone else who doesn't know, too, right?

10 eggs
1 (15 oz) can sliced beets
1 onion, thinly sliced (you don't need this)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vinegar

Begin by boiling your eggs. It helps to use old eggs. Don't use ones that you just bought at the store, give them at least a week. Place the 10 eggs in a saucepan and cover with at least an inch or two of water. Put on the stove on high until they boil. Boil for one minute, then cover and remove from heat. Let sit with the lid on for 10-15 minutes. Then place them in cold water, and peel when you're up to it.

While they are chilling out, you can start making your beet juice!

Drain the juice from the beets into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and vinegar. Put your beets and onions into whatever container you plan to put the eggs into. Once your eggs are peeled, you can throw those in with the beets and onions.

Put the beet juice on the stove on high until it comes to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Then pour it over your egg, onion, and beet mixture.

Seal your container and refrigerate. Refrigerate them for at least a day, but 3 days is recommended for them to get the full flavor. They last about a week in the refrigerator.

My review: Duh, I love them. They are even better if you do the beets homemade, but I draw the line there. I have never tried, but maybe someday. I've heard it's messy and not totally worth the hassle. Who knows. I just know that these are good, and definitely a hit at potlucks. Enjoy!

Crescent Veggie Pizza

This is frequently served at Pampered Chef parties and I've always loved it, but never tried making it. But that changed when I received this recipe in an e-blast from Pillsbury.

2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup small fresh broccoli florets
1/3 cup quartered cucumber slices
1 plum (Roma) tomato, seeded, chopped
1/4 cup shredded or chopped carrot

Heat oven to 375°F.
Unroll both cans of dough; separate dough into 4 long rectangles. In ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan, place dough; press in bottom and up sides to form crust.
Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In small bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder until smooth. Spread over crust. Top with vegetables. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before serving.

My review: Yum! and I don't really measure the veggies. I figure the more the better, so just chop like crazy and throw a bunch of healthy stuff on there. Surprisingly, I used low fat cream cheese and sour cream, and noticed absolutely no difference. Delicious appetizer or dish to take to a potluck!

Ham and Asparagus Gratin

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Asparagus Soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked cut asparagus (fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked ham
3 cups hot cooked corkscrew-shaped pasta
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese OR Swiss cheese (or a combination of both!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix soup, milk, onion powder, black pepper, asparagus, ham, pasta and 1/2 cup cheese in 2-qt. shallow baking dish.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 min. or until hot. Stir.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

TIP: this is also good with leftover chicken or turkey too!!

My review: I like this. but then, what's not to like about pasta, asparagus, cheese, and meat? It's a good casserole for the summer to use up leftovers, and it is delicious paired with a nice fresh salad! yum!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Red Velvet Gobs or Red Velvet Whoopie Pies or Red Velvet Sandwich Cakes

I apologize for the multiple names, but I've recently discovered that these are not called Whoopie Pies everywhere. Some people call them "Gobs". Others call them "sandwich cakes". But I have grown up knowing them as whoopie pies, which is apparently what Amish people call them, which makes sense, because I grew up buying them at Root's Farmer's Market, in Lancaster County, where millions of tourists flock to see Amish people. I'm just going to mention that I've always found this silly, because I also grew up seeing the Amish going to church in their horse and buggies, and never thought twice about it. and certainly, never ever thought of trying to snap a photo of them doing this.

But back to the Whoopie Pies/Gobs/Sandwich cakes. This is a very simplified version, using a box cake. But I can't tell the difference. And I've eaten a lot of whoopie pies/gobs/sandwich cakes in my life. (does the word "gobs" gross anyone else out? no, just me? hmm. okay.)

For the cakey cookie part of the WHOOPIE PIES:
1 box Red Velvet cake mix (come to think of it, any cake will do, so if you want devil's food because you're a chocolate devil, go for it, i won't tell)
1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix ingredients until combined.
Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a cookie sheet, two inches apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let them cool.

For the Filling of the WHOOPIE PIES:
1/2 Cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 8 oz. Package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 (1lb.) Box of confectioner's sugar
1 tsp Vanilla

In a mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla.
Gradually add sugar and mix until smooth.

To assemble, spoon a small amount of frosting on the flat side of one cookie.
Take another cookie and press together until frosting is flush with the edge.
And then eat it.

My review: God Bless the person who invented these. For real. Yum! And I seriously can't tell the difference between the cakes being made from scratch or a box. Enjoy! And scream, whoopie! when you're done, because that's why they're called whoopie pies.

Butterscotch Pecan Pie

You're probably saying, two pies in a row? but I'm saying, why the heck not? Who doesn't like pie? I prefer pie over cake, unless it's a delicious block of my Jell-O poke cake, in which case, I'll take both. :-)

1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell(if using a frozen deep dish pie shell, do not thaw, and bake on a cookie sheet)
1 1/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels, divided
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, coarsely chopped
whipped cream (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt 1 1/3 cups morsels in an uncovered microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; Stir. Morsels may retain some of their shape. If necessary, microwave an additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted.

Add the corn syrup, eggs, flour and salt to melted morsels. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out with little bits of filling attached. If it starts browning too quickly, cover with some foil. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Refrigerate 1 hour or until you decide to eat it. Which, after looking at it, you won't want to wait long.

Now, if you're looking to impress, you can take another 1/3 cup of those morsels, melt them, and drizzle onto wax paper on a baking sheet into some fun garnish designs. Let them cool, then on each piece of pie, squirt some whipped cream and place your garnish on top.

My review: Yum Yum Yum. This was delicious. Seriously. I love pecan pie, the traditional kind, but this comes in as a VERY close second. You'll like it!

Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Ree over at Pioneer Woman is killing me. She keeps posting all these fabulous recipes and I just can't keep up. This one I made, and so I'm passing it on. But please, please go to her website and make lots of her recipes and munch on them all day, and then tell me about them. Because I can't make them all. But I'm trying.

For the crust:
25 oreos, crushed (this works best if you put them in a food processor) I don't have a food processor, so i put mine in a ziploc bag and beat the crap out of them
4 tsbp butter, melted

Crush the oreos until they're fine. Pour the melted butter over top and mix together with a fork. Press into a pie pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes, or until set. Don't burn it. Please don't burn it. Remove from Oven and make sure it cools completely.

For the delicious, peanut buttery filling:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (8 oz) package softened cream cheese
1 1/4 cups powdered 10x sugar
1 (8 oz) tub of Cool Whip, thawed

Beat the peanut butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat again until smooth. Add in the Cool Whip, and guess what? Beat it again until it's .... SMOOTH.
Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Ree recommends that you cut this in small slices because it's ultra rich. I agree with her, except that I think my first "small slice" turned into about 4 small slices. So, do what you like. Enjoy that sucker.

My review: I'm lovin' it. And not like I love McDonald's breakfast burritos, even though that's a deep love. I'm a big peanut butter fan, and this exceeded all my expectations. I plan to make this a lot. Because it was easy. But so so so so worth the small bit of trouble it took. Yum. Please make this. You will love it. mmmm. and sure, if you want, use reduced fat cool whip. but personally, i don't recommend it. :-P

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Dishes...

A peek at my Dragonfly Kitchen...

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Milkshakes

4 scoops ice cream (chocolate or vanilla, or both)
1/2 cup - 1 cup milk, depending on desired thickness
1 tsp vanilla extract
a couple spoonfuls of cookie dough
Chocolate syrup, if desired

Mix it all together in the blender, and blend! Makes 2 very large milkshakes!

My review: Different. I had heard of this being served at a restaurant and wanted to try it at home. I have a huge bucket of cookie dough in my fridge right now, so i had to try it! It was pretty good, especially if you like cookie dough. I still prefer plain old vanilla or a Red Bull milkshake (birch beer flavored).

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

This is a simple recipe, but something I make often, that is easy, and I love it.

1 package Rice-A-Roni Rice Pilaf (or store-brand... which is what i use...)
3 tbsp butter or 1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
1 small onion, chopped
10 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas (sugar snap peas work well, too!)
1/4 cup celery, chopped
Garlic Powder, to taste
2 tsp Parsley Flakes
Pepper, to taste

(you can use whatever veggies you like, fresh or frozen... this is just what i usually have on hand... you can also make this a main dish by adding any kind of cooked meat, like pork or chicken)

Melt the butter (or heat the olive oil) on medium heat.
Brown the rice/pasta, stirring frequently.
Once brown, add the water, seasoning packet, and vegetables.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
Simmer for 17-25 minutes, adding the parsley, pepper, and garlic powder about halfway through. Stir often.

My review: Yum. This makes an easy meal, and for some reason, I just love its flavor. It's a nice easy side dish for a weeknight.

Philly Cheese Steak Wraps

This recipe makes two wraps. Adjust to feed your crowd.

4 Sandwich Steaks (SteakUmms)
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
8 Mushrooms, sliced (or use a can)
1 slice mozzerella cheese
1 slice swiss cheese
Tabasco Sauce
Lawry's Season Salt
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
2 burrito size tortillas
Tomatoes, diced
Shredded Lettuce
Mayo or Pizza Sauce

Melt the butter (or heat the olive oil) in a small sauté pan on medium heat. Throw in your pepper, onion, and mushrooms. (or whatever combination you decided on...) Shake in some Lawry Season Salt. Not too much, this recipe can tend to be salty on its own. Also throw in a few shakes of Tabasco. (also optional)
In a separate, lightly greased pan on medium heat, break up your sandwich steaks, which ideally are still frozen, making them easier to just tear up.
Once your steaks are cooked and your veggies are sautéed, combine the two into one of the pans. I recommend that veggies' pan, if your steak will fit, because the steak can be greasy, and this is a good way to get rid of some of that. Mix it all together. Then split into two piles, one for each wrap. Top each pile with half a slice of each cheese. Throw on a lid to melt the cheese.
While your cheese is melting, heat an ungreased skillet on medium heat and throw in your tortillas. Heat for 15 seconds on each side.
Fill each wrap with its guts, adding the mayo or pizza sauce if you like.
Then, top with some lettuce and tomato, wrap that sucker up, and enjoy!

My review: This was a creation I made yesterday for dinner, because I was hungry for cheesesteaks and had everything but rolls. Which is convenient, cuz I don't like the roll part of cheesesteaks. This was yummy and definitely something I will be cooking up again!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


1/2 lb ground beef (I actually used leftover taco seasoned meat from tacos...)
1 tbsp chili powder (omit this if you did what i did, using taco seasoned meat)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 cup salsa (however much you like)
cheddar cheese or taco cheese
Tortillas (with this much meat, you can fill 4 burrito size tortillas)

Brown your ground beef, adding the chili powder when it's about halfway browned. Or, if you are using leftover taco meat, like I did, because I'm a cheater, just heat it up a bit. Add the black beans and salsa and heat until warm.

You may laugh, but this makes all the difference: to heat up your tortillas, use an ungreased skillet on medium heat, and throw your tortilla on for about 15 seconds per side.

Once your tortillas are heated, go nuts and fill them!

My review: I had always bought burrito kits when I wanted to make burritos. But last night, I had leftover taco meat and I was determined to make myself some burritos. So i added the black beans and salsa, which ended up making the burritos very filling. I love mexican food and would eat it every night if i could. Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cowboy Cookies - The Amspacher Way

This is one of my favorite things in the whole entire world, and the recipe I probably use most often. My family's famous cowboy cookies. Well, at least they're famous for us. We LOVE them.

1 cup butter (softened, just like when you make chocolate chip cookies!)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup Quaker Oats
1 cup Coconut (flakes -- find them in the baking aisle)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a separate bowl.
Then, slowly add to the creamed mixture, while mixing.
Add Rice Krispies, Quaker Oats, and Coconut one at a time, mixing after each addition.
Bake these delicious suckers for 7-9 minutes in your preheated oven. I like to leave them a little gooey. and I like to make them pretty large in size. Then you can say you only had 2 cookies, when really, those 2 cookies probably equaled 5 normal cookies. But whatever. Seriously, though, watch these little devils, because they burn pretty darn easily. And they are no good burnt. Actually... some people like them better burnt -- apparently it makes them taste like popcorn. (freaks.)

My review: I am completely partial to this recipe, so this review isn't fair. These cookies are splendidly delicious. I make them all the time. They are a family heirloom. Seriously, I hope you love them. And if you think you don't like coconut, this might change your mind. It sure changed mine. And if you must, you could always leave it out. Or replace it with some white chocolate chips, if you're feeling really cheeky.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Southwestern Layered Dip

1 can refried beans (doesn't matter what kind - vegetarian, fat free, full fat, whatever makes your skirt fly up)
Chopped fresh cilantro (I can't give you an exact on this...)
1 cup corn (the recipe I used said to use canned MexiCorn... i hate canned corn, so i used some frozen corn...)
1 (8oz) container sour cream
1 package taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup Taco Cheese

Spread your refried beans, whatever kind you chose, on the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan.
Cover them with a bit of cilantro.
Next, layer your corn over top of the cilantro and beans.
Mix the sour cream and taco seasoning together, then spread over top of the corn.
Cover with the cheese and a bit of cilantro.
Serve with tortilla chips.

My review: I never thought I was much of a cilantro fan. But it was pretty darn good. Reminded me of the heavenly Pico de Gallo recipe on Pioneer Woman's website. But this was good. A nice dip to have on hand if you have vegetarians to worry about. Personally, I like anything I can dip tortilla chips in. This made me want to whip up some Southwestern Bean Salad, though. Yummy

S'mores Dip

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup Marshmallow Creme
Graham Crackers for Dipping!

Microwave the chocolate chips and milk in a bowl for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chips are melted.
Pour into a glass pie plate.
Drop marshmallow creme in teaspoonfuls over top the mixture.
Microwave for about 30 seconds, until the marshmallow is all soft and gooey.
Now, take a table knife and go nuts, swirling the crap out of it. But don't over do it. You want it to look marbled and yummy.
Serve immediately, while it's still warm, using graham crackers.

My review: I understand wanting to have s'mores without the campfire and all that, but I would still rather fire up the grill or even a burner on the stove, toast my marshmallow and sandwich it all up. This also makes way too much for just someone trying to snack... unless you have a group of hungry kids, you will have to eat until you burst. So... My review is that this is yummy, but I prefer the traditional s'more.

Buffalo Chicken Broiler Pizza

1/4 cup refrigerated ranch dip (dip, not dressing)
12 inch prebaked pizza crust
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken (you can use canned, if you like)
1 cup chopped tomatoes (I like plum tomatoes...)
Buffalo Wing Sauce (about 1/4 cup, but it depends if you like it spicy or beyond..)
1 package (2 cups) Colby-Monterey Jack Cheese Blend (I threw some Mozzerella on as well...)
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (optional) (I recommend it.. seriously.)
1/4 cup chopped onion (optional) (You could pass on this... it added a little extra zing, in my opinion, but if you've noticed, i use onion a lot in my recipes....)

Set your oven to Broil. If you have the option of low or hi (some ovens do, mine does not), set it to low. You would much rather it take a bit longer than have it flaming in your oven!
Spread the dip on the pizza crust.
Top with Chicken and Tomatoes.
Sprinkle the buffalo sauce over the pizza.
Throw on the cheese, green peppers, and onion.
I recommend putting the pizza on the rack of your broiler pan, if you have one. Other pans don't like high broiler heat if they can help it.
Broil about 6 inches from heat, for about 8 minutes. Make sure to watch it closely!

My review: Yum. This was good and spicy. I'm not a huge fan of the prebaked crusts, but that's my deal. Using it here made this recipe done in like 10 minutes, so who can complain?? I used canned chicken, realizing it would be much better with fresh cooked chicken. but still, it was good. I will most likely make this again on a night that I have class, because I am always looking for dinners that don't take much time, but are at least a hot meal. Serve it with a salad and some celery! For some reason, celery just tastes so much better when paired with buffalo chicken ANYTHING.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Baked Potato Pizza

1 can Pillsbury Thin Pizza Crust (or any other pizza crust you wanna use)
Provolone Cheese (about 6 slices)
2 cups cubed baked potato (1 large potato or 2-3 small)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dry ranch dressing mix
8 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped (or use real bacon bits, if you're lazy like me)
1 cup mild shredded Cheddar
1/4 cup green onions, if you want

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease cookie sheet.
Unroll dough into 15x10 rectangle
Arrange the provolone slices on the dough. (I like lots of cheese, so I used 8, but the recipe said 6....)
In a bowl, mix the potatoes, olive oil, and ranch dressing mix.
Spoon mixture evenly on top of the provolone.
Sprinkle with bacon and Cheddar cheese.
Bake until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown (about 12-16 minutes).
Serve with sour cream and/or ranch dressing.

My review: This was good. Not as good as the kind you get out, but if you're searching for carb overload in the comfort of your own home, go for it. Also, I used pizza crust that I found in my grocery store's bakery section. They make their dough, throw it in a bag, and freeze it. So it's fresh and wonderful... Check it out at your store. It also makes fabulous stromboli crust.