Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Dinner: Bloody Baked Rats!!!

In the spirit of Halloween, I made "Bloody Baked Rats" from Allrecipes:  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Halloween-Bloody-Baked-Rats/Detail.aspx.  And OMG!!!  Let me just say they were horribly fabulous!!!

I did use my own meatloaf recipe for the "rats" but used these instructions as a guide for presentation.

Here are the alterations I made to the recipe in the above link:

* Pecan pieces for ears.

* Raisin pieces for eyes.

* Thin asparagus spears for the tails.



* Only made half the amount of "blood" sauce called for in the recipe and that was more than enough.



Everyone agreed this was a fun idea for a Halloween themed dinner!



The cheese "guts" inside were an unexpected surprise.  Hubby suggested adding a few strands of cooked spaghetti to the cheese for the "intestines".

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now???

It has been brought to my attention that new posts are not being received correctly.  I've been working on that this morning and I think it's fixed now.  So I'm testing it out with this post.  If you receive this in your list, please leave a comment and let me know! 

Thanks!  :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Candy Corn Bark

I put off buying Halloween candy this year because I knew that once it was in the house, the kids and I would consume it like....well, candy. This is especially true of candy corn. It was on sale for $1 a bag and I somehow convinced myself we needed multiple bags of this stuff. Not for trick-or-treaters - just for us! So now I'm looking for recipes that will help me use up the candy corn. I found one on Allrecipes and changed it up to suit my tastes. So here's my version:

16 Halloween Oreos, chopped
1 1/2 c. broken pretzel sticks
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 bag of white chocolate chips
1 c. candy corn
Halloween sprinkles

1. Spread the cookies, pretzels and cranberries onto a lightly greased baking sheet.

2. Melt chocolate 30 sec. at a time in the microwave, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from the heat while there are still a few chunks, and stir until smooth.

3. Drizzle chocolate with a spoon over the goodies in the pan, spreading the top flat to coat evenly (I used a piece of sprayed wax paper for this step).

4. Top with candy corn and sprinkles. Let cool until firm. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Molded Halloween Candy

I found candy molds on sale at Michael's and decided that I had to have one. If you have never played with these molds, I highly recommend it. This really is no-stress candy making. In fact, I don't even know that I would qualify this as candy making so much as it is candy painting and candy pouring.

All I did was paint the black parts with icing color and pour in melted white chocolate. The ghosts are actually supposed to be the backs of the skulls but I wanted some variety.

You just paint, pour, and set in the fridge. It's that easy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spooky Spider Cake

I made this cake today! It's a big deal because this is the first time I have ever spent so much time on a cake. This was also the first time I ever experimented with gum paste. I never even knew for sure what it was until this morning (it's the stuff used to make decorations). You can buy it premade at Michael's, which is what I did today.

For the spider, I added black icing color to the gum paste. Then shaped the body and legs separately. The icing on the cake helps to keep the pieces in place.

The web is white sparkly decorating gel from a tube.


Friday, October 23, 2009

I Want Pretty Cakes!

There is a difference between simply icing a cake and decorating one. You know those people that make decorating the perfect looking cake seem so effortless? I want to be one of those people! I usually just glob on the icing, make little swirly things all over it, and call it done. I want to do more than that though so I went to Michael's and bought a few basics (tips, bags, tools, etc.), came home and whipped up cupcakes from a box, and made my first attempt at "real" decorating. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?




Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Amazing Alfredo Sauce

I used to be one of those people buying the alfredo sauce in the jar. I figured out last night that it's super easy to make your own sauce and much better tasting than the other stuff. This recipe makes enough sauce for a 1 lb. box of pasta. I prefer to use penne, ziti, or even farfalle because they "hold" the sauce better than flat pasta, such as fettucine.

2 c. heavy cream
1c. real butter
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp.ground black pepper
1/4 tsp.garlic powder

1. Combine heavy cream and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

2. Heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally (Do not allow sauce to boil)

3. Stir in Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

4. Serve immediately over cooked pasta.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jazzed Up Sausage and Sauerkraut

Remember sausage and sauerkraut? My husband and I both have memories of this dish from our childhoods and they are remarkably similar in that the dish served in both our homes was pretty plain. Good, but plain. There was pan-fried sausage, sauerkraut, and.....I think that's it.
This is a recipe I came across on Allrecipes and have adjusted it slightly for personal taste. I like it because the classic flavors are still there but they're enhanced with the addition of the veggies and wine or broth.
Here's the recipe:

1c. baby carrots
2c. red potatoes, chopped
1 (16oz.) bag sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (this reduces that strong sauerkraut-y flavor)
1 lb. fully cooked beef sausage, cut into chunks
1/4c. white onion, thin sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4c. dry white wine or chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. caraway seed

1. Layer carrots, potatoes and sauerkraut in your slow cooker.

2. In a skillet, brown the sausage; transfer to the slow cooker.

3. Saute onion and garlic in the skillet with drippings, until tender.

4. Gradually add wine or broth. Bring to a boil and stir in pepper and caraway. Pour over sausage and veggies.

5. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until vegetables are tender.

I have this in the Crock Pot right now and my house smells AMAZING!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halloween Ghosties!!!

I'll just start by saying that I think these little ghosties are adorable! All you do is coat Nutter Butter cookies with candy coating (I used Wilton's), set them on wax paper until dry, and decorate. The coating process can get a little messy but - so what? - they're so cute!

* Recipe from Taste of Home.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Getting Ready for Halloween

Did anyone else see Emeril's Kicked Up Halloween (or whatever it was called) last night? Fantastic ideas! I love Emeril anyway. He prepared this dish called "Vampire Chicken" that looks like a mutilated chicken (which, I guess it really is), complete with "blood sauce" that completely inspired me to get started on planning our Halloween menu. I don't want anything too gross. This is going to be our dinner, after all. I once saw a recipe for baked "bats," or something like that. I'll have to think about this...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Last night's dinner was balsamic glazed salmon fillets, chipotle sweet mashed potatoes, and breaded brussels sprouts. The salmon was really good and the brussels sprouts were cooked just right but the mashed sweet potatoes were excellent! They were so good that I am still thinking about them today. They are so good that I am considering serving them on Thanksgiving this year. I found this recipe through Allrecipes and, as written, it results in a somewhat spicy/sweet dish. The amount of heat is easily controlled by the amount of peppers added though. Here's the recipe:
Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

3 lbs. sweet potatoes
1-1/2 teaspoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons real butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium size baking dish, and set aside.

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork, and place on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Roast the sweet potatoes in preheated oven until easily pierced with a fork, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, and cool about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

4. When sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half, and scoop flesh into a mixing bowl. Discard potato skins.

5. Using a hand mixer, beat the sweet potatoes with the chipotle peppers, butter, and salt; spread evenly in the prepared baking dish.

*This can baked now or refrigerated until the next day. That's what makes this so perfect for Thanksgiving!

6. Bake in the preheated oven until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Beets and Greens

These were actually pretty good!

Turns out, cooking a beet is exactly like baking a potato. All you do is cut off the greens and their stems, coat the beets in olive oil, and bake them, in a covered and sprayed pan for about an hour at 350* Testing doneness is the same as a potato too - just stick it with a fork. Easy.

For the greens, I heated about 2 TBSP olive oil in a skillet, tossed in a couple cloves of minced garlic and about 1/4 c. diced onion. Then, tore the greens into 2-3" pieces (throwing out the big red stems), seasoned with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and sauteed until done.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beets?!

I'm planning an experiment today. It involves trying to get my kids to eat beets. I keep seeing them in the store. Beets are one of those vegetables that, whenever I see someone buying them, I wonder what in the world they're going to do with them. I haven't had beets since...I don't know...and I'm sure they were the canned variety, which I've since read are not as good as fresh. The dish I'm serving tonight calls for the use of the whole beet, greens and all. You roast the beets and saute the greens...something like that. Anyway, it's two sides in one. If all goes well, I'll post the recipe and reactions tomorrow.

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