Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Amazing Lemon Bars

I always crave anything lemon throughout summer and last night I tried a new recipe for a BBQ that totally hit the spot.

These bars were easy, rich, and perfectly lemony. A nice variation to the traditional lemon squares.

Amazing Lemon Bars

1 package yellow cake mix
1/3 C butter softened
1/2 C chopped pecans
1 package (3 oz size) lemon cook and serve pudding and pie filling (not instant)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 lemons
1 C powdered sugar

preheat oven to 350. Combine cake mix and butter in small bowl until crumbly. Add pecans and mix well. Reserve 1 C of mixture for topping and the rest can be pressed in a 13x9 inch casserole pan for the crust.

whisk pudding mix and sweetened and condensed milk in small bowl until smooth. Add zest of 1 lemon and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix well and pour over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crust mixture.

bake for 25-28 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Add enough lemon juice to powdered sugar to make a thick glaze and drizzle over bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mini Mint Oreo Cheesecake Cups

So, I haven't mastered the "prettiness" of these things, but they are so rich and delicious and just the right size for popping into my mouth...well, in about 3 or 4 bites.

Mini Mint Oreo Cheesecake Cups

13 mint Oreos, ground in food processor
2 T melted butter

8 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 T buttermilk
5 mint Oreos coarsely crumbled

1/4 C chocolate chips
2-3 T heavy cream
3-5 mint Oreos, crumbled

Preheat oven to 300. Combine ground cookies and butter in medium bowl. Drop about 1 T of cookie mixture into mini muffin tin that has been sprayed with cooking spray. (If you have mini muffin wrappers, use them. They will look a lot better and come out a lot easier too.) Press crust into cups with back of spoon or fingertips.

Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Add egg and buttermilk until well combined. Stir in crumbled cookies. Pour cheesecake mixture onto prepared crusts. Bake for 25-28 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips and add cream. Stir until chocolate is smooth and shiny. Spoon over cheesecake. Sprinkle with additional crumbled cookies.

I can't wait to try this recipe with other cookies!

Mom's Banana Bread

I have been making this recipe for years now and it's always eaten up so quickly. It is so moist and sweet.

Mom's Banana Bread

2 1/2 C flour
1 C sugar
1 tsp salt
3 T vegetable oil
3/4 C milk
1 egg
1 C mashed bananas
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 C chocolate chips ( I like to use the mini ones)

Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and bake another 10-15 minutes or until middle is cooked thoroughly.

Ripe bananas are best to use, but I always make banana bread when the bananas on my kitchen counter have gotten to the point where no one will eat them. Did you know you can freeze bananas for later use as well?

Could it get any easier than that?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Garden Fresh Zucchini Bread

Our sweet neighbors let us use their garden this year to plant whatever we wanted to since they weren't going to use it. Because we are first timers, we weren't sure what was going to happen, and not much did to be honest. But, we are so proud of the one zucchini that grew and I couldn't wait to make lots and lots of zucchini bread with it! Look how big it got! I made 4 loaves and didn't even use half of it!

I'm not much of a photographer, but look at all those beautiful bits of zucchini in that bread!

Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 C sugar
1 1/2 C shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 tsp lemon peel
1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

*grease bottom and sides of 8x4x2-inch loaf pan. (note: I have the Williams and Sonoma loaf pan, and it's twice as big, so I had to double the recipe. Be sure to check your pan size)
*combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in medium bowl. I like to use a whisk for my dry ingredients to keep them light and airy.
*in another bowl, combine the sugar, zucchini, oil, egg, and lemon peel.
*add dry ingredients to zucchini mixture and stir just until moistened. Fold in walnuts or pecans.
*spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350.
*cover with aluminum foil and bake another 10-15 minutes or until center is cooked through.
*cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing loaf from pan to cool completely on the wire rack.
*I like to brush the top of the loaf with melted butter and sprinkle with a cinnamon/sugar mixture for a little extra health benefit. SO GOOD!