Monday, October 10, 2016

Honey Toasted Pecans

Photo courtesy Ryan Spear, Mt. Carmel, IL
     It's always good to keep your ears and mind open to trying new things. Over the years, I've been so lucky because friends, family and coworkers give me ideas, tips and recipes. The trouble I've found is that's there's just not enough time in the day to try them all.
     But when I least expected it, one of the greatest little snacks appeared right at my work station. Next to my keyboard there was a bowl of honey roasted pecans. To top it off they were dusted in powdered sugar.
     I remembered that one of my coworkers mentioned he and a friend had plans of roasting pecans over the weekend. Now I understood what he meant. These little treats were soft, slightly salty but sweet at the same time.
     Because I was wearing a solid red shirt and had an interview to do, I waited until later to try them. (I didn't want powdered sugar droppings down my front.) It was love at first bite. These little nibbles reminded of my favorite Christmas cookies, Mexican wedding cakes. Well, maybe without all of the butter and flour, but the taste took me right there.
     What I didn't realize is that while I was busy, the entire office had tried these and I was lucky there was any left. News of the little tasties had spread like wild fire. With this type of great review I couldn't help but share the recipe. It's the perfect snack to try for the upcoming holidays.

Honey Toasted Pecans 

Recipe courtesy of Ryan Spear,
Mt. Carmel, IL
1 bag of pecans
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup honey
cinnamon sugar
2 cups powdered sugar (optional)

Melt butter and honey together, mix well.
Toss pecans and butter/honey mixture together.

Arrange on baking pan, spreading out well.
Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon sugar (to your desire)

Bake at 350 for 10 min, then stir and put back in for additional 5 minutes.
Let cool for 1 hour.

Put powdered sugar in plastic baggie and then add pecans. Shake to coat.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Tropical Strawberry Pie

    One of my favorite desserts has always been strawberry pie. Months ago I discovered a recipe that blended strawberries with pineapple to create a tropical flavor. I had been just waiting to try this until I could find a good batch of berries. Sorry to say, they're out of season and a bit pricey right now. 
   For a recent holiday, I was determined to give it a try anyway. Unlike the original version which calls for making the crust from scratch, I took the easy way out and used a pre-made graham cracker crust. I also used strawberry/banana gelatin because that's what I had on hand. This was easy to do and even easier to eat.

Tropical Strawberry Pie
1 graham cracker crust
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups whipped topping
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, juice drained
3/4 cup boiling water
1 pkg. small pkg. strawberry banana gelatin
1 cup ice cubes
2 cups strawberries, sliced

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until well blended. Gently fold in 1 cup of whipped topping and pineapple. Spread on top of crust. Refrigerate until needed.

In smaller bowl, pour boiling water over gelatin powder. Stir until completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add ice and stir quickly until ice melts, mixture will start to thicken.

Remove any lumpy ice cubes. Mix in strawberries. Refrigerate 5 minutes. Spoon over cream cheese layer.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Top with additional 1 cup of whipped topping.
Serves 4-6.

* Note: the hubby says the more strawberries the better!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Cheddar Burgers with Beer BBQ Sauce

Photos courtesy of the Cooking Corner.

     One day recently I was in the grocery store check out lane and saw a small recipe booklet called, "Cooking with Beer." Yes, I was intrigued. After giving the little cookbook a really good glance-over as I waited in line, I went for it. The impulse buy was going home with me.
     While eating lunch that day, I studied my new purchase and bounced all kinds of ideas around my mind. Finally, I decided to try the "Western BBQ Burgers with Beer BBQ sauce." (That's what I had most of the ingredients for - notice I said "most.")
     As far as dinner that night . . . the burgers tasted just like my normal burgers because the beer was in the sauce. I'm not really sure why beer was in the sauce, because once you bring it to a boil, it's not really a factor except for liquid. It seems to me, that I just made the BBQ sauce a bit thinner. So I just slathered the sauce on both sides of the bun so that everything was coated, gooey and down right sloppy. Some things are just best eaten messy and this was one of them.
Cheddar Burgers with Beer BBQ Sauce
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. McCormick's hamburger seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup smoky BBQ sauce*
1/4 cup Michelob AmberBock beer
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper 
1 vidallia onion, sliced in 1/2-inch thick slices
4-5 slices cooked bacon
4-5 slices cheddar cheese, smoked if possible
4-5 buns
lettuce and tomato, optional

Preheat grill or skillet to medium-high heat. Shape burger into 4-5 patties. Sprinkle with hamburger seasoning and garlic powder. 
Combine BBQ sauce, salt, pepper and beer in small saucepan. Bring to boil for 1 minute and then set aside.
Cook burgers 8 -10 minutes, turning occasionally, until desired doneness.
On grill or in same skillet, cook onions 4-5 minutes until soft and slightly charred. Lay onion slice on top of burger.
To serve - drizzle 1 T. BBQ mixture on bottom bun. If using, place lettuce and tomato on bottom bun. Add cooked bacon and sliced cheese on top of burger. Drizzle with 1 T. BBQ. Close sandwich up and get a napkin.
* I used Stubbs Sweet and Heat.

Taste Of Home Recipe of the Day