Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ski Country Pasta

I have no idea where the name comes from, but I found the basic recipe here, and made a few changes.

1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/2 lb. sliced bacon
2 chicken breasts, cubed
4 c. penne pasta (or something else of similar size)
2-4 cloves garlic
7-8 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
5 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
Splash of white wine
1 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 c. fresh chopped basil

1. Toast almonds over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Cook bacon and chicken until done, and remove from pan and crumble bacon. Save bacon fat.

3. Cook pasta al dente (until it's done) in salted water.

4. Discard all but 6 Tbsp. bacon fat. Heat remaining bacon fat, and add garlic and chopped spinach. Stir over medium heat until tender (about a minute).

5. Whisk mustard, vinegar, and wine together in large bowl, and then mix in drained pasta, cheese, cooked spinach mixture, bacon, and basil. Serve warm, topped with toasted almonds.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Twix Bars

But so much more decadent than that.  Shortbread, vanilla bean caramel, bittersweet chocolate and grey sea salt all combined to make one of the most perfect and praised treats I've ever made.

Now I tweaked this rather significantly from Annie's Eats, most notably by replacing the caramel recipe entirely with a half batch of the caramel that I make at Christmas, after discovering that the original didn't work too well.  

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter

1/2 lb. butter
1 lb. brown sugar
8 oz corn syrup
1 cans sweetened condensed milk

2 tbsp rum(optional)
1/2 tbsp vanilla paste
1/2 tsp salt

8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick butter

To make the shortbread layer, preheat the oven to 325° F.  Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to blend, and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended, about 1-2 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press in an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

In a large kettle melt butter, stir in brown sugar, rum and salt. Gradually add corn syrup and milk, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until it reaches firm ball stage(245 to 250). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour over the crust and allow to cool until firm.

Melt the chocolate and butter together, stir until smooth.  Spread over the caramel and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Use the parchment to lift the bar out of the pan; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Pork Chops

Source: Taste of Home online

These were super easy, used one pan, and passed the Johnny test.

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 medium tart apples, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook pork chops in 1 tablespoon butter for 4-5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° (I couldn't find my meat thermometer, so I just cooked them until they were done in the middle). Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  • Remove chops and keep warm. Add the apples, pecans, brown sugar mixture and remaining butter to the pan; cook and stir until apples are tender. Serve with chops.
  • Yield: 4 servings.

Aldi Tropical Fruit Salad

I only buy this product occasionally because it's typically pretty overpriced for canned fruit, but the Aldi version was a good alternative for a much more reasonable price. Light syrup and nice pieces of fruit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


(From my recipe box)

1/2 c butter
1/2 c shortening
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt

  • Mix butter, shortening, sugar, and eggs.
  • Blend in flour, cr. of tartar, soda, and salt. Shape into balls.
  • Mix 2 tbls sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon together and roll the balls in this.
  • Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tropical Sherbet

1 c sugar
1 c orange juice
1 c pineapple juice
1 ripe banana
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c milk

Combine all ingredients except milk in blender and blend until sugar is dissolved and banana is pureed. Add milk and chill in refrigerator if necessary, then freeze in ice cream maker.